Robert D. Hormats
Under Secretary for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affairs
U.S. Trade Representative Ronald Kirk and Rwandan Minister of Trade and Industry, Francois Kanimba
Washington, DC
December 2, 2011

Thank you, Ambassador Kirk and the hard-working staff of USTR.

State and USTR share responsibility for Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) negotiations and we think that our work on the U.S.- Rwanda BIT is an example of great teamwork between agencies of the U.S. government.

Our two agencies had an excellent working relationship throughout this process and we hope it is a model for how we can come together to achieve important goals.

It is a pleasure to join Minister of Trade and Industry Francois Kanimba, Ambassador Kimonyo, and other members of the Rwandan delegation.

I am also pleased that staff members from the Senate Finance and Foreign Relations Committees and the business community have joined us to highlight the value of the bilateral investment treaty between our two countries.

As Ambassador Kirk noted, Rwanda has made remarkable progress in implementing economic reforms that have helped rebuild the Rwandan economy and society and this treaty will underscore Rwanda’s commitment to open investment policies, and fair and transparent treatment of investors.

As you have undoubtedly heard, Secretary Clinton has given a series of speeches over the past few months – most recently in New York in October – describing the intersection of economics and foreign policy - what we call "economic statecraft."

There is no better example of this than the cooperative work of USTR and the State Department.

Trade and investment are important drivers of economic growth and job creation and collaborative work in addressing these issues is important to developing more and better jobs. In addition, it builds on the close relations between countries, as it does here today with Rwanda.

The United States aims to leverage our economic strengths and dynamism to deepen our ties with other countries in the world and to support important foreign policy goals. This includes our efforts to promote economic development worldwide.

The U.S.-Rwanda BIT, and BITs in general, can make an important contribution.

Foreign investment is a critical driver of development. Official development assistance-- while valuable and important-- cannot match the power of the private sector.

By establishing strong investment treaties we create the circumstances that enable the private sector to go forth and make economic investments that benefit both their corporate bottom line and our developing country partners as well.

Bilateral investment treaties that help forge strong economic ties between countries are a win-win for the United States and our developing country partners. The capital inflows help developing countries grow and in turn they become important consumers for U.S. goods and services. This is a virtuous circle that we want to encourage and replicate.

I applaud Congress for recognizing these benefits. The unanimous vote in the Senate on the Rwanda BIT typifies the bipartisan support that U.S. bilateral investment treaties have historically received.

Looking ahead, we are working to complete an update of the U.S. “model” BIT, which will serve as a framework for next-generation BITs. In the interim, we and USTR, as the co-leads of the U.S. BIT program, continue technical talks with critical negotiating partners, such as China, India, and other potential partners mentioned by Ambassador Kirk.

In conclusion, we are very pleased to be moving forward on this treaty. We welcome our economic partnership with Rwanda, and we look forward to deepening that relationship.

The U.S.-Rwanda BIT is an important symbol to the American business community that not only is Rwanda open for business but that their investments will be protected.

Already, U.S. companies are betting on the Rwandan market - from Marriott planning a hotel in Kigali, to Boeing marketing airplanes to the Rwandan Airline industry – U.S. companies are ready to do business with this important partner.

Thank you.