Newscast Media HOUSTON—The planned opening of new U.S. trade offices in four
African countries demonstrates the U.S. commitment to supporting Africa’s developing
economies, a top U.S. trade official says.
“As a new member of the Department of Commerce team, I’m very excited to be a
part of this major expansion,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Global
Markets Arun Kumar said in an April 28 Commerce Department blog post.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker announced the expansion of trade offices
on April 17. She said that, in 2014, the Commerce Department’s International Trade
Administration will open offices in Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Tanzania, in
cooperation with the U.S. Department of State. These four new offices, in addition to
one to be opened in Burma, will bring the knowledge and experience of U.S. trade
specialists into some of the world’s most rapidly developing economies.
Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the fastest-growing economic regions in the world,
Kumar pointed out in his blog post, adding that the International Monetary Fund
predicts continued growth throughout the continent, as part of a broad continental
“Our new offices will support White House initiatives like Trade Africa and Power
Africa, which have spearheaded a larger campaign to bolster development throughout
the continent,” Kumar said.
Trade Africa is a partnership between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa,
launched by President Obama in July 2013, that seeks to increase internal and
regional trade within Africa and expand trade and economic ties between Africa, the
United States and other global markets. Power Africa is an initiative President Obama
announced in June 2013 that aims to double access to power in sub-Saharan Africa.
“As U.S. companies look to ship goods to Africa, help increase electrical capacity, or
help improve transportation networks, they will receive unparalleled assistance and
expertise from our staff,” Kumar said. “With our new offices on the continent, we will
be able to find partners for American companies, help navigate regulatory hurdles,
and support the development that will make Africa thrive.”
As this expansion takes place, Kumar said, “these markets are where we will truly see
the mutual benefits of trade.” U.S. companies “will bring the infrastructure and ideas
that improve quality of life for citizens and they will support the partnerships that
spur innovation among local businesses,” he said.
The expansion announcement “is just the start,” Kumar said, adding, “I’m very excited
to see how this expansion will help support existing partnerships, create new
opportunities, and bring about the kind of development that is only possible through
global trade.” http://newscastmedia.com/trade-africa.html
Newscast Media — A group pf civil rights organizations filed an Amended Complaint in the U.S. District Court in New York, case number 10-cv-3105, in a class action lawsuit against the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Census Bureau’s parent agency.
The amended lawsuit was filed after new evidence surfaced that shows the U.S. Census Bureau ignored a detailed warning by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that its screening process for hiring more than one million temporary census workers could result in massive racial and ethnic discrimination.
The complaint cited the EEOC’s warning along with other newly uncovered evidence in a case which seeks compensation for more than 100,000 minorities who were not selected for census work because of unprosecuted arrests and old, minor, and minor convictions for offenses such as unlawful assembly and loitering.
The Census Bureau illegally screened out applicants with often decades-old arrest records for minor or un-convicted offenses that typically would not have deterred other employers including other federal agencies with high security concerns such as the Transportation Security Administration, says the Amended Complaint filed in U.S. District Court in New York.
“Under the discovery process resulting from the filing of the original lawsuit, we implemented a hiring review system they had every reason to know would result in massive discrimination,” said Atty. Samuel R. Miller of the New York-based law firm Outten & Golden LLP.
“About 14 million people in the United States are arrested per year. That means about 70 million people, more than 20 percent of our adult population, have a criminal record,” Miller said. “The FBI retains virtually all arrest records in its database forever – even for juvenile offenses. However, the federal government recognizes that restrictions on hiring individuals on the basis of arrest records are discriminatory and illegal.”
The suit charges the Census Bureau with being reckless, if not intentional, in eliminating from this public service a larger percent of minority applicants than white applicants.