press release

Chevron Press Release - Chevron Executive Lauds Passage Of African Trade Bill

San Francisco, July 16, 1999 -- Chevron Director Richard Matzke today commended the House of Representatives for passing the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which will, if enacted into law, expand trade between the United States and the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. The House voted in favor of the bill (234 to 163) on Friday.

"This is good news for America and for Africa," said Matzke, who is also president of Chevron Overseas Petroleum Inc. "The African Growth and Opportunity Act is a critical milestone in U.S. foreign policy at this pivotal time in Africa's political and economic evolution."

The Act will help spur market-based economic development in sub-Saharan nations through trade and foreign investment rather than direct financial aid. This approach will provide these nations with the tools needed to sustain long-term economic growth and to compete effectively in global markets while also providing increased investment and trade opportunities to U.S.-based businesses. The companion Senate bill, SB 666, is expected to be considered later this year.

"The major components of this legislation will help attract new investment, create jobs, provide training and establish joint ventures in both the U.S. and Africa. Chevron has been operating in Africa for more than 60 years and this Act is important to established investors like Chevron and to new U.S. investors interested in broadening their overseas' investments," added Matzke.

Key provisions of the legislation will:

  • Increase U.S. business opportunities in Africa's expanding markets by developing an African Free Trade Area;
  • Extend bilateral trade privileges to eligible African nations through the Generalized System of Preferences program (GSP) through 2009;
  • Provide aggressive debt relief to those nations instituting economic and political reforms; and
  • Establish $650 million in equity funds through the Overseas Private Investment Corp. as incentive for private investment.

"We have been fortunate to witness a great deal of positive economic change in Africa over the last several decades," said Matzke. "And, we look forward to this legislation being enacted to aid future expansion and long-term investment opportunities for the benefit of the people of sub-Saharan African nations," concluded Matzke.

Chevron is one of the largest American investors in the Sub-Saharan territory. Joined by about 70 other U.S. businesses in the African Growth and Opportunity Coalition, Chevron has strongly supported this legislation to help long-term sustainable development in these emerging nations.

Updated: July 1999