US: Trade office expansion targets Burma and Africa
If confirmation was needed of the world's fastest-growing economies and the biggest opportunities for development, then look no further than the expansion plans of US trade offices, which are opening for the first time in Burma and Ethiopia.
In total, US trade offices will open in five new countries in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa this year, with Angola, Mozambique and Tanzania on the list in addition to Burma/Myanmar and Ethiopia.
The move by the Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration will also see the US Commercial Service will more than double its presence in Africa. Offices will also be added in Wuhan, China, and existing offices expanded in Kenya, Ghana, Morocco, and Libya.
As well as helping to promote US exports in these rapidly growing regions, the offices will also have a key role to play in helping attract inbound investment to improve the local infrastructure. In Africa, for example, this should help increase electrical capacity, or help improve transportation networks.
The new offices will also have a role to play in helping to find partners for American companies, as well as assisting them to navigate regulatory hurdles.
Textile and clothing companies are constantly assessing new sourcing frontiers like Burma and Ethiopia, with a rise in US orders expected to help the clothing and textile sector in Burma earn US$1.5bn from its exports in 2014.
Tesco, H&M and PVH are already looking at potential of the African continent, whose land mass is bigger than the whole of Europe, the US, China, India and Japan combined, with a population that is set to double to 2bn by 2050.
An interactive databank with intelligence on the major apparel sourcing countries
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