U.S. Senator Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), and U.S. Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA-37) and Terri Sewell (D-AL-7) on Wednesday joined the launch of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's U.S.-South Africa Business Council. The Council will focus on expanding the commercial relationship between the two countries and facilitate strengthened bilateral trade and investment. In addition to launching the Council, the delegation participated in a meeting with the board of the American Chamber of Commerce to discuss ways to improve U.S. business opportunities in South Africa.
The delegation issued the following statement:
"We applaud the launch of United States-South Africa Business Council and look forward to forging even stronger economic ties between the American and South African private sectors. This is a critical moment for American businesses to engage in South Africa, our largest non-oil African trading partner. U.S. exports to South Africa have more than doubled since 2000, and U.S. direct investment in South Africa is at an all-time high.
"Africa is a continent of enormous opportunity, and the U.S.-South Africa Business Council has the potential to help American businesses capitalize on it. This Council will build support in South Africa and the United States for the kinds of policies that can strengthen U.S. investment in South Africa, boost exports, and create jobs. Similarly, increased exposure to the opportunities afforded by the South African market will lead to more American companies choosing to do business here.
"The U.S.-South Africa relationship is essential, and we are committed to working in the Senate and the House -- and across the aisle -- to further mutually beneficial cooperation between the United States and South Africa in the areas of trade, investment, security, development and health."