A workshop organized by the U.S. Commercial Service in Ethiopia in collaboration with Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce was launched on Monday (September 14) in Addis Ababa. Representatives from ten U.S. firms are meeting one-on-one with representatives and officials from over 70 Ethiopian businesses and public sector entities to discuss exports, partnerships, and investment. The U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ambassador Patricia Haslach told the workshop that the interest shown by these US companies to invest in Ethiopia was a positive sign towards enhanced economic cooperation between Ethiopia and the U.S. She noted that the recent visit of President Barack Obama to Ethiopia was an important event that strengthened confidence of US businesses to invest in Ethiopia. She said: “The U.S government and my Embassy are working hard and enthusiastically to advance President Obama’s vision for the future of U.S.-Africa relations and remain committed to deepening commercial ties with Africa, particularly with Ethiopia, as is evident from the President’s recent visit here.” She further noted that the recent re-authorization of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) for another ten years would offer opportunities to increase Ethiopian exports to American market. Ambassador Haslach called on Ethiopian and US businesses to take advantage of the quota and duty free exemptions available under AGOA. Fitsum Arega, Head of the Ethiopian Investment Commission, told the workshop that the government was doing a remarkable job in terms of creating an enabling environment to attract foreign investment. Stability, a reliable business environment, expansion of infrastructure and the availability of cheap power supply, all provided the impetus for growth of foreign investment, he said. In addition, the provision of land with concessional price and tax holidays up to 10 years for those investing in manufacturing sector, should increase the flow of Foreign Direct Investment. The Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce President Elias Genete said the Government would be giving real focus to the manufacturing sector in the second phase of Growth and Transformation Plan, providing generous incentives for companies investing in the sector. Ethiopia, he said, is in the process of acceding to World Trade Organization; this was a firm indication of Ethiopia’s determination to join the global market.