TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Sector Data: Automotive

AGOA forms one of the cornerstones of African automotive sector exports to the United States. Approximately 90 tariff lines (at the HS8 level) falling within Chapter 87 (automotives and parts) are covered by the AGOA legislation.

Automotive sector production and exports form part of a capital-intensive industry, and currently virtually all exports from this sector are exported from South Africa.

Over the years, very small amounts of automotive products have also been exported to the US under AGOA from other AGOA beneficiaries, for example from Kenya and Nigeria (see first data table alongside). Other beneficiary countries however provide some of the necessary inputs to the South African automotive sector, for example Botswana, which supplies premium quality leather that is used in OEM car seats during vehicle manufacture.

Within the auto sector export category, passenger vehicle form the bulk of Sub-Saharan African exports to the US, reaching $1.5 billion (out of $1.6 billion in total sector exports) during 2016 - see the data tables alongside for more detailed statistics. These exports have directly benefited from AGOA by being granted duty-free access to the US.

Less than 2% of automotive sector exports ($29m out of $1,587m) from AGOA beneficiaries - South Africa) - did not claim any specific duty preferences. In comparison, during the year 2000 when AGOA was originally enacted, total auto sector exports to the US from AGOA beneficiaries werevalued at only $151m, with $83m of that not claiming any preference and $67m claiming GSP status.

Auto exports have thus seen a ten-fold increase in value over the 2000-2016 period, predominantly due to AGOA. 

Parts and accessories of motor vehicles accounted for $62 million worth of exports during 2016, of which $42 million was shipped under the GSP, $1 million under AGOA (non-GSP) and $18 million without preference.   


Mercedes Benz factory in East London, South Africa


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