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Should AGOA be expanded to include [more] agricultural products?

Should AGOA be expanded to include [more] agricultural products?

Too many exports from too few countries in Africa to the U.S. are energy-related, says Udunopa B. Abalu, a graduate student and research assistant at George Washington University in the U.S. The U.S. Congress should revise and renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) before it expires on Sept. 30, extending preferential market access to sub-Saharan Africa’s agricultural products—the backbone of the region, Abalu says. A student of international trade and investment policy, Abalu focuses her research on...

12 April 2015
Dumping duty a bone in AGOA’s chicken pie

Dumping duty a bone in AGOA’s chicken pie

It's been 15 years, but there’s still no clarity on when chickens from the US will be able to cross the road to South Africa. The delay now threatens to cost this country dearly as the deadline swiftly approaches for the US to decide whether to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), which has given South Africa and other nations on the continent unfettered access to the massive US market. At the centre of the Agoa debate lies the issue of South Africa’s “antidumping” duty on imports of US chicken, which has rubbed...

12 April 2015 | BIANCA CAPAZORIO
Setting the record straight on AGOA renewal for SA - US Ambassador Gaspard

Setting the record straight on AGOA renewal for SA - US Ambassador Gaspard

Media stories in the South African press have published a wide variety of opinions on the on-going discussions concerning the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) as it relates to South Africa. I wish to clarify some erroneous views that have recently been published in the South African media:   - “The US is holding South Africa hostage on Agoa renewal” - Absolutely not. The US has made clear our consistent position that we want Agoa seamlessly renewed, and that we want South Africa included. Both the...

10 April 2015 | Patrick Gaspard
Davies optimistic SA, US poultry producers will reach agreement

Davies optimistic SA, US poultry producers will reach agreement

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies is optimistic that the current deadlock in the negotiations between South African and American poultry producers about the latter being granted greater access to the local market will be overcome. A resolution to the impasse is vital to get the full backing of the US Congress for SA’s inclusion in the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), a system of nonreciprocal preferences which provides duty-free access to a range of products from sub-Saharan countries into the US. The act...

10 April 2015 | Linda Endsor
SA must hold the line on AGOA - Pan-African Business Forum

SA must hold the line on AGOA - Pan-African Business Forum

South Africa’s continuing spat with the US over its poultry exports has galvanised a group of leading African business people, entrepreneurs and key influencers to call on Pretoria not to give into Washington’s demands that South Africa grant duty-free access to US poultry. They argue that to do otherwise will harm Africa’s interests. The call by the Pan-African Business Forum (PABF) comes as Pretoria scrambles to hammer out a deal that will ensure South Africa’s continued participation in a key US-Africa preferential trade scheme...

08 April 2015 | Ellis Mnyandu
US national security tied to Africa's economic empowerment

US national security tied to Africa's economic empowerment

A new National Security Strategy (NSS) for the United States released in February of 2015 includes many references to trade being vital to U.S. security interests. That is why Congress must renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) without further delay. "The United States is safer and stronger when fewer people face destitution, when our trading partners are flourishing and when societies are free," reads one reference in the NSS. Given this truth, it is incumbent that the U.S. Congress act swiftly to insure that trade...

08 April 2015 | Bernadette Paolo
US raises AGOA issues over SA poultry sales

US raises AGOA issues over SA poultry sales

South African and US poultry producers have so far failed to agree on a mutually acceptable volume of imported US chicken which could enter SA free of antidumping duties. This despite pressure that the parties reach an accord ahead of the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). The US congress has to pass a new act before the current one expires on September 30. Further talks between South African and US government officials on the issue will take place over the next few weeks. US senators John Isakson of Georgia and...

07 April 2015 | Linda Endsor
The African Growth and Opportunity Act, a US trade failure

The African Growth and Opportunity Act, a US trade failure

Too many people read the headlines and skip the actual substance. A headline might say that it's imperative for America to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The underlying facts might demonstrate that AGOA has failed and needs to reinvent itself. Brad Pitt actually summed up the results for America's 15-year love affair with AGOA when his Benjamin Button movie character said that "Our lives are defined by opportunities, even the ones we miss." Pitt's comment came from a movie called "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"...

06 April 2015 | Rick Helfenbein
Chickenomics – who’s the victim in Agoa poultry row?

Chickenomics – who’s the victim in Agoa poultry row?

It has been enlightening to watch the unfolding saga of the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) negotiations over the past few months. When reviewing what is at stake and considering the major benefits to South Africa Inc; it must be considered: what are the drawbacks? When considering the comments of the South African Poultry Association (Sapa), it appears as if the association is the victim, but delve a little deeper and consider who the real victim is. Sapa has consciously invested into a sector that is dependent on...

02 April 2015 | George Southey
AGOA: US lawmakers up the ante

AGOA: US lawmakers up the ante

The United States has ratcheted up its bid for South Africa to grant access to US poultry products, with 13 US Senators writing to Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies this week to urge him to push for talks to resolve a dispute threatening Pretoria’s participation in a key trade scheme known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). Agoa must be renewed ahead of its September expiration date. In a letter, also addressed to ambassador Faizel Ismail, South Africa’s special envoy for Agoa, the 13 US legislators said they were...

01 April 2015 | Ellis Mnyandu
South Africa sees quotas as solution to poultry-import issue

South Africa sees quotas as solution to poultry-import issue

South Africa hopes poultry producers will agree on import quotas in the next few weeks, preventing their products from being blocked in the U.S., Trade Minister Rob Davies said. Local producers and their U.S. counterparts have yet to reach a deal, Davies told reporters Thursday in Johannesburg. He will travel to the U.S. next month. South Africa could lose out on preferential access to the U.S. for poultry through the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA, if an agreement on quotas isn’t reached. “They still haven’t found each...

26 March 2015 | Tshepiso Mokhema
Letter from Washington: AGOA hostage to party political manoeuvring

Letter from Washington: AGOA hostage to party political manoeuvring

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) will be renewed before it expires in September. That’s a solid bet. When, exactly? For how long? And will SA be treated the same as other African beneficiaries? Those are questions awaiting an answer. Holding things up is strong opposition from most Democrats, and some Tea Party Republicans, to giving US President Barack Obama "trade promotion authority" (TPA). He needs this to conclude his Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade pact with 11 "like-minded" nations — China is not on the list...

26 March 2015 | Simon Barber
SA-US poultry groups 'need to take talks seriously' - Q&A with Senator Coons

SA-US poultry groups 'need to take talks seriously' - Q&A with Senator Coons

This past Friday, Business Report had an interview with US Senator Chris Coons (Democrat, Delaware) about the long-running dispute between South Africa and the US over Pretoria’s anti-dumping duties on US poultry exports. Coons, along with his Republican counterpart Johnny Isakson of Georgia, want South Africa to scrap the duties or risk being kicked out of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), a preferential trade scheme that allows duty-free access into the US of various South African exports, including cars, wine, citrus and...

24 March 2015 | Ellis Mnyandu
Risks to South Africa's AGOA benefits mount

Risks to South Africa's AGOA benefits mount

Time is fast running out for South Africa to expeditiously reach a deal to extend Pretoria’s participation in the lucrative US preferential trade scheme known as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). A long-running dispute over access for US poultry products into the South African market could soon result in South Africa being kicked out of Agoa, which must be renewed ahead of its September expiration date. Through Agoa, South Africa has been able to derive preferential access to the US market for a range of products, including...

23 March 2015 | Ellis Mnyandu
South Africa: Local poultry chief says US asking SA to shrink its economy

South Africa: Local poultry chief says US asking SA to shrink its economy

A proposal from the US poultry industry aimed at resolving the ongoing impasse over their poultry imports into South Africa is tantamount to asking the country to shrink its economy, according to the South African Poultry Association (Sapa). Sapa chief executive Kevin Lovell said the industry body would shortly be responding to the latest offer by its US counterpart, the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (Usapeec), as the two wrestle with how to resolve a trade dispute that threatens to end South Africa’s participation in the African...

23 March 2015 | Ellis Mnyandu
Ghana collaborates with USAID to improve export trade

Ghana collaborates with USAID to improve export trade

The Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) on Thursday, signed a Letter of Collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) West African Trade Hub and African Partners Network, in Accra. Signatures and exchange of the letter of collaboration were done at a ceremony to launch the new African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Trade Resource Centre, which was hosted by the GCCI within the World Trade Centre in Accra. Mr Jeffery Povolny represented the USAID Trade Hub and African Partners Network,...

20 March 2015
'It is vital SA poultry still reaps AGOA benefits'

'It is vital SA poultry still reaps AGOA benefits'

The past couple of weeks witnessed lively interactions on poultry-related issues affecting the continuing review of the African Growth and Opportunity Act’s (Agoa) extension. The importance of Agoa for the economies of sub-Saharan Africa, including South Africa, as well as the US is unquestionable and well-documented. It is therefore critical that it be extended for a further 15 years with South Africa among the beneficiaries. It is also important that a constructive approach be pursued in addressing the set of challenges facing South...

20 March 2015 | Jorge Maia
Seychelles founding president calls on US Senate to reauthorize AGOA

Seychelles founding president calls on US Senate to reauthorize AGOA

It is announced from Glacis-sur-Mer that the Seychelles founding President James R. Mancham has agreed to join the AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act), a civil society organisation Network Letter Campaign for the timely reauthorization of AGOA with the US governement. It is to be noted that AGOA has been in operation since 2000 with a view to improve US-Africa trade and economic cooperation and that the Act is about to expire shortly. The letter to which Sir James has agreed to be a co-signatory will be sent to the Chairs and ranking...

20 March 2015
Why AGOA should be extended for 15 years: An Ethiopian case study

Why AGOA should be extended for 15 years: An Ethiopian case study

It is frequently said that investing in Africa is not for the faint-hearted. It is less well appreciated that entering the U.S. market is not for the faint-hearted either, especially by those small and medium businesses in Africa that AGOA was designed to benefit. For the last 24 months, the African Union and African diplomatic corps in Washington have been advocating a 15-year extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The Obama administration has also called for a 15-year extension. Recently, I spent a week in Ethiopia...

19 March 2015 | Witney Schneidman
Opinion: AGOA is of mutual benefit to SA and US

Opinion: AGOA is of mutual benefit to SA and US

During the week of March 2 to 6, I led a South African delegation to the US to make the case for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) to be extended by a further 15 years. Agoa was passed by the US Congress in May 2000 to facilitate trade between sub-Saharan African countries and the US. It was intended to assist African countries to improve their export performance, enhance economic development and reduce poverty. It provides duty-free access to the US market for 6 400 products from about 40 countries. While some African...

17 March 2015 | Faizel Ismael
AGOA: The US-Africa trade policy dilemma

AGOA: The US-Africa trade policy dilemma

It may seem counter-intuitive to imagine that Africa could make contractual demands on the United States. Yet, there is evidence that in recent times, Africa has become more assertive with its new found confidence. In fact, it appears the continent is at a point in history where it no longer needs a begging bowl whenever its leaders visit Western capitals. This sense of confidence was on full display when Africa’s leaders converged in Washington DC for the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit last year. Mutual deals President Uhuru Kenyatta,...

17 March 2015 | JOHN NJIRAINI
Progress in SA-US meat dispute

Progress in SA-US meat dispute

South African and US government and business negotiators made progress last week in trying to solve a dispute about the entry of US meat products into the local market. This dispute was threatening South Africa’s continued participation in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa). But there was still a lot of work to be done, US officials said. Agoa gives duty-free access to the lucrative US market for almost all South African exports and expires in September this year. The US Congress will decide soon whether and how to renew it...

11 March 2015 | Peter Fabricius
Hubs without spokes - building a more inclusive AGOA

Hubs without spokes - building a more inclusive AGOA

The African Growth and Opportunity Act can drive development across the continent, argues Christopher Wood, so long as the US and African countries collaborate to make the scheme more inclusive. Policymakers in Pretoria, Nairobi and Maseru are holding their breath as the latest renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) makes its way through the partisan gridlock of the US congress. AGOA offers duty free access to the richest market on the planet on 1800 tariff lines, generates over 62,000 jobs in South Africa alone, and...

10 March 2015 | Christopher Wood
Growing Kenya economy hinges on renewal of US trade pact

Growing Kenya economy hinges on renewal of US trade pact

Kenya has emerged third among the top 20 fastest-growing economies in the world, according to a 2015 survey by Bloomberg. Kenya and Nigeria are the only African countries that made it on the list, which placed China first, followed by the Philippines.  However unemployment in Kenya remains high and some industries face a shock unless the U.S. renews a key trade agreement. The sound of this industrial sewing machine fills the air at the United Aryan Limited textiles factory on the outskirts of Nairobi as workers are busy trying to make...

10 March 2015 | Lenny Ruvaga
US-Africa trade: AGOA's short term headaches

US-Africa trade: AGOA's short term headaches

Emboldened by high demands of their mineral resources, African countries are demanding change to AGOA, a US-Africa trade treaty, including its extension for at least 15 years. At fault are the uncertainties of the treaty, and its limiting structures. It may seem counter-intuitive to imagine that Africa could make contractual demands on the United States. Yet, there is evidence that in recent times Africa has become more assertive with a newfound confidence. It appears the continent is at a point in history where it no longer needs the...

06 March 2015 | The Africa Report
Chicken tax strains US-South Africa relationship

Chicken tax strains US-South Africa relationship

For the past fifteen years, South Africa has been taxing poultry imports from the United States. This chicken tax has not been popular among representatives in the U.S. Congress. Senator Chris Coons of Delaware has been particularly vocal, and his opposition was again reported on in a New York Times article two weeks ago. Senator Coons’ concerns are twofold: the tax hampers U.S. poultry exports, one of Delaware’s staple industries. Additionally, the tax is considered unfair given that South Africa receives trade benefits under the...

05 March 2015 | Nathaniel Glidden
South African team in bid to salvage AGOA deal

South African team in bid to salvage AGOA deal

South Africa had dispatched a delegation to Washington this week to discuss with Congress ways to amicably resolve an impasse over US poultry imports, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said. This dispute was threatening Pretoria’s continued participation in the preferential trade scheme, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), Davies added. Speaking at a BrandSA/ Business Report Dialogue, Davies said he was optimistic South Africa would retain its participation in Agoa. “I am very hopeful,” he said in Johannesburg on...

04 March 2015 | Wiseman Khuzwayo
Pressure mounts to renew AGOA

Pressure mounts to renew AGOA

The African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AOGA, doesn’t expire until Sept. 30, but there’s mounting pressure to extend it immediately since every passing day without renewal brings more ambiguity to companies’ ability to plan ahead. “If it gets passed at the last minute, it causes all kinds of disruptions and uncertainties for buyers and sellers. And so, just the uncertainty alone is damaging,” said Jennifer Cooke, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies’ Africa, in an interview...

03 March 2015 | DA Barber
Swaziland: Mass retrenchments at Leo Garments following AGOA loss

Swaziland: Mass retrenchments at Leo Garments following AGOA loss

Leo Garments is the latest casualty of the AGOA loss as the company has retrenched a bulk of its workforce. An inside source said there are less than half of the initial workers remaining in the factory and they also face further retrenchments. The prevailing situation at the factory situated at the bottom of the Matsapha Industrial Sites, which has left hundreds of workers in despair and uncertainty, is a result of the country’s removal from benefitting from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) with effect from January 2015. The...

26 February 2015 | NOSIPHO SHONGWE
Staying competitive in Africa - Blog article

Staying competitive in Africa - Blog article

The African market, growing at more than 5 percent per year for the last decade, is up for grabs by the major powers, especially China and the European Union. To stay competitive, the U.S. needs to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act, set to expire on Sept. 30, as soon as possible. In 2009, China became Africa’s largest trading partner, overtaking the U.S. Combined with more than $30 billion of low-interest commercial loans to African governments and investments in virtually every country, it is argued by some that China is...

26 February 2015 | Stuart Eizenstat and Witney Schneidman
Is Lesotho's garment industry an 'ethical alternative'?

Is Lesotho's garment industry an 'ethical alternative'?

With just over two million inhabitants, the southern African kingdom of Lesotho is one of the world’s smallest countries. A low-income country that currently ranks 160 out of 187 on the UN’s Human Development Index, workers earn an average salary of US$570 per annum and some 42 per cent of its citizens are jobless. However, over the last eight years, its textile and garments manufacturing industry has grown to become one of Africa’s biggest. At its peak in 2008, Lesotho’s garment and textile exports totalled US$340 million. The...

25 February 2015 | Pamela Keletso