The United States and Libya have signed a deal to facilitate bilateral trade and investment, the latest step to defuse past tensions between the two countries.

Economic officials from both countries signed the framework agreement Thursday in Libya's capital, Tripoli.

The agreement mandates the formation of a joint council to address trade and investment issues such as market access, labor, and even environmental concerns.

The goal of the council is to increase commercial and investment opportunities by identifying and removing trade hurdles.

Listen to Susan Yackee's interview with David Mack, the Middle East Institute, on current relationship between US and Libya:

Ties between Libya and the United States have long been strained during Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi four decades in power.   But relations improved in 2003 after Libya publicly abandoned its weapons of mass destruction program.

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