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Cablegate: Roundtable On Senegal's Agoa Forum Priorities

VZCZCXRO9589
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHDK #1382/01 1801303
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 291303Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 8675
INFO RUCPDOC/USDOC WASHDC PRIORITY
RUCLRFA/USDA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEHAR/AMEMBASSY ACCRA PRIORITY 1518
RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DAKAR 001382

SIPDIS

SIPDIS
SENSITIVE

STATE FOR AF/EPS AND AF/W
STATE PLS PASS TO USTR/CHAMILTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD EAGR EINV EFIN EAID EAIR SG
SUBJECT: ROUNDTABLE ON SENEGAL'S AGOA FORUM PRIORITIES

REF: A. STATE 58394

B. DAKAR 1054

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: On June 19, Senegal's Ministry of Commerce
organized a stakeholder roundtable to assess the state of
preparations for the GOS' participation in the July 18-19 AGOA
Forum. EconOff and representatives from the West African Trade
Hub/Dakar participated. Senegal is not yet well organized to offer
its priorities for the Forum (apart from requesting simultaneous
translation at all events), and, in general, neither the GOS nor the
private sector has made a significant effort to help Senegalese
producers benefit from AGOA preferences. END SUMMARY.

TO DATE, SENEGAL HAS LITTLE TO SHOW FOR AGOA
--------------------------------------------
2. (U) On June 19, Cheikh Sadbou Seck, Director of External Trade
at the Ministry of Commerce, hosted a roundtable discussion to
assess the state of Senegal's preparation for the July 18-19 AGOA
Forum in Accra. Participants included representatives from the
Ministry of Commerce, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Agency for
Investment and Export Promotion (APIX), the Senegalese Agency for
Export Promotion (ASEPEX), the National Agency for Senegalese Civil
Aviation (ANACS), private sector groups like the National
Organization of Senegalese Fruit and Vegetable Producers and
Exporters (ONAPES), as well as representatives from the West Africa
Trade Hub/Dakar (WATH/D), EconOff and Econ Assistant. Seck's goal
in calling this meeting was to assess progress made on Senegal's
AGOA promotion efforts since last year's Forum in Washington, DC,
and June and September 2006 U.S./Senegal meetings in Dakar to
establish priorities for the Senegalese delegation to this year's
Forum.

3. (SBU) Unfortunately, the participating GOS agencies had not yet
focused on AGOA preparations. Mr. Seck charged the ASEPEX
representative to coordinate efforts to propose an agenda for a
follow-on meeting. WATH/D reps summarized trade statistics
demonstrating that, in comparison to other comparable African
countries, Senegal's exports to the U.S. are very low. EconOff
recommended that the Senegalese delegation not limit its comparative
analysis to West African neighbors, but, instead consult widely with
African counterparts who are successfully using AGOA to expand
exports on a broad range of products and not focus exclusively on
textiles and commodities. The December 2006 introduction of direct
flights between Senegal and the U.S. by Delta Airlines was noted as
a positive step. The ANACS representative asserted that Senegalese
civil aviation authorities are working hard to obtain ICAO Category
One status for Dakar's international airport to solidify Delta and
South African Airlines' U.S. routes. Participants underscored the
need for improved air cargo links between Senegal and the U.S.

4. (U) Representatives from the private sector highlighted the need
for the GOS to establish a point of contact for AGOA information
both in Senegal and in the U.S. and pointed out that there has been
zero progress over the past year in promoting franchising as an
effective investment model, which was one of the priorities for the
Senegalese delegation coming out of the 2006 AGOA Forum. There were
also requests that simultaneous translation be provided for all the
panels and workshops, not only the plenary sessions.

THE GOS IS NOT EFFECTIVELY PROMOTING AGOA
-----------------------------------------
5. (SBU) To date, GOS (and private sector) efforts to take
advantage of AGOA have been underwhelming. ASEPEX, in particular,
has not followed-through on its role as the lead agency for
partnering with the WATH to promote AGOA and assist potential
Senegalese exporters. Senegal is the only AGOA eligible country in
West Africa without an AGOA Resource Center (ARC)
-- even Guinea-Bissau has one -- which should be the first point of
contact for exporters who wish to learn more about exporting using
AGOA, i.e. how to apply the correct harmonization codes to ensure
duty free entry, whether a product is AGOA eligible, how to obtain
textile visas, where to find related trade data, etc.

6. (SBU) In 2006, former Minister of Commerce Mamadou Diop Decroix
and USAID designated ASEPEX as the ARC host institution. USAID/WATH
has an in-kind donation of computer equipment, training, and other
materials for Senegal's ARC as soon as ASEPEX decides to open it.
The host government is responsible only for engaging (and paying the
salary of) an ARC coordinator. In WATH's opinion, ASEPEX wants the
USG to significantly and directly fund ASEPEX's AGOA efforts;
computers and other information materials are not enough.
Similarly, a National AGOA Committee was launched in 2006. However,
to date, no actions have been taken except one meeting of a steering
committee in September 2006 in which the Minister and the Ambassador
participated.


DAKAR 00001382 002 OF 002


7. (U) Visit Embassy Dakar's Intranet site at
http://dakar.state.gov/htdocs/section/econSec tion.aspx and Embassy
Dakar's SIPRNET Web site at http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/af/dakar.

Jacobs

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