U.S., Libya strengthen trade ties
The U.S. and Libyan governments signed an agreement in Tripoli on Thursday to enhance bilateral trade and investment relations between the two countries.
The Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) will establish a forum for discussion on U.S.-Libyan trade and investment and will help build upon those relations, said the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, in a statement.
The TIFA mandates the formation of a joint U.S.-Libya Council on Trade and Investment, which would address a wide range of trade and investment issues including market access, intellectual property, labor and environment.
The agreement is the latest step in a joint effort by the United States and Libya to 'broaden and deepen our bilateral relations,' the USTR said.
In 2009, Libya was the United States' 69th-largest goods trade partner with $2.6 billion in two-way trade. Top U.S. exports to Libya include vehicles, machinery, agricultural products, medical instruments, and iron and steel products. Oil was Libya's principal export to the United States.
The U.S.-Libya Business Association, based in Washington, applauded the Obama administration's latest effort to improve U.S. trade relations with North African country.
'The TIFA is a necessary building block for increased trade and investment opportunities for U.S. and Libyan business,' said Chuck Dittrich, executive director of the association. 'We look forward to more frequent and productive government-to-government dialogue and cooperation on commercial issues as a result.
'With more than $60 billion in Libyan infrastructure projects over the next three years, the signing of the TIFA is especially timely,' he added.