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Official Press Release
Reverse Trade Mission yields results for Ethiopia and the USA


The high-level Ethiopian Reverse Trade and Investment Mission that was in the USA from January 13-27, 2001 have returned home to Ethiopia, concluding a successful mission. The mission was jointly organized by Ethio-American Trade & Investment Council (EATIC), Ethiopian Embassy in Washington D.C. and the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce (AACC). The delegation working visits took them to Washington DC, Baltimore, MD; Atlanta, GA; Houston, Texas and held discussions with American business executives, U.S. government officials and representatives from various public and private agencies.

His Excellency Mr. Kassahun Ayele, Ethiopian Minister of Trade and Industry, led the mission, which included H.E. Mr. Mohamoud Dirir (Minister of Transport and Communications), Mr. Fantaye Biftu (Rank of Minister, Ethiopian Export Agency), Mr. Yusuf Abdullahi Sukkar (Ethiopian Tourism Commissioner) Mr. Tadesse Haile (General Manager Ethiopian Investment Authority), and the Hon. Ambassador Tibor Nagy, US Ambassador to Ethiopia, as well as other public and private officials. Twenty five (25) number of Ethiopian business people also participated in the mission including the VP and the General Secretary of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce, seeking trade and investment ventures in such industries as textiles and light manufacturing; agribusiness; power and infrastructure (includes mining and construction); information technology and health care; tourism and travel; transport and communications.African lion

One of the highlights of the mission was Coca Cola's announcement of its intention to invest close to $50 million in Ethiopia. Addressing the visiting Ethiopian delegation in Atlanta, Robert Leadsay, Coca-Cola's director for Africa and the Middle East, cited the favorable conditions created in the country for investment and added that Coca-Cola International is attracted by Ethiopia's lucrative market owing to its population of nearly 63 million and a hug e labor force." According to Leadsay, Coca-Cola also plans to enter joint ventures with Ethiopian business people.

At a forum in Houston, Texas, co-organized by the Greater Houston Partnership, the luncheon keynote speaker the Hon. Ambassador Tibor Nagy addressed the Houston business community and mission members to engage in investment opportunities in Ethiopia. Citing an investment code that is friendly to foreign investors, the country's abundant natural resources and the recent privatization of key sectors of the economy, the Ambassador noted that significant benefits could be obtained from investing in Ethiopia.

The Houston Mayor, the Hon. Lee P. Brown and His Excellency Mohamoud Dirir, Ethiopian Transportation and communications Minister; also signed an agreement between Ethiopia's Bole International Airport and the Houston Airport System to facilitate support for the Addis Ababa airport and to encourage the extension of Ethiopian Airlines flights to Houston. A bilateral civil aviation agreement, which the Ethiopian and US government are currently negotiating, would allow Ethiopian Airlines to extend its service to other US cities.

While In Washington, DC, American entrepreneurs who are already engaged in business ventures in Ethiopia also added their testimony regarding the country's highly favorable investment climate. Mr. Wilson Hunt, President of a Chicago based company that manufactures and distributes sports equipment and apparel, spoke of the ease and benefits of doing business in Ethiopia, including a cheap but highly disciplined and well trained work force, government policies and personnel that facilitate foreign investment and virtually no corruption. Mr. Francis Schaffer, President of Schaffer and Associates (last year's recipient of the US State Department's annual award Corporate Excellence Award for his ventures with Ethiopia's Fincha Sugar Factory) also shared his positive experiences of doing business in Ethiopia and encouraged American entrepreneurs to do likewise.

Finally, before returning to Addis Ababa, Minister Kassahun and members if his delegation met with US State Department and US Customs officials regarding Ethiopia's eligibility under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The Minister, expressing satisfaction with the overall success of the Trade and Investment Mission, said he expects that Ethiopian products will be in the US markets in a matter of weeks.

The Ethio-American Trade & Investment Council (EATIC - is a non-profit, non-partisan, tax exempt membership organization of corporations and individuals dedicated to strengthening and facilitating trade and investment between Ethiopia and the United States of America. The Council believes that it can best accomplish this goal through education, focusing on broadening the respective knowledge of various social customs, cultural traditions and economic climate of both countries.