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Nigeria: US Trains Nigerian Customs Officers on AGOA

Selected officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) would soon undergo a three-day training to be conducted by United States officials. The training will be centered on effective regulation and implementation of the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), a US policy that seeks to promote the importation of certain goods into its market.Slated to begin tomorrow, the training would involve Customs' officers already working in the various ports of exit of goods meant for the US market.The training session is expected to put them through...

28 November 2006

Don't Punish African Clothesmakers

Of all the free-trade pacts signed by the United States over the last decade, perhaps none is as uncontroversial as the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Providing duty-free access to exporters in sub-Saharan Africa threatens few if any American jobs while spurring industry in some of the poorest countries in the world. Yet a vital provision of the act is set to expire, and, for the moment, Congress appears more interested in political gamesmanship than in making a painless decision to help some of the world's neediest people.The...

27 November 2006

Africa between China and the West: The New War of Influence

On his way to attend the 5th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC, November 4-5, 2006, Beijing), President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal stopped over in Washington, DC and had discussions with American policymakers. In one of the meetings, the subject of China came up and Wade was asked if Africans were aware that China was only interested in Africa’s oil and other raw materials. President Wade responded by asking:” Do you think we are children?” A few months ago, when she addressed a group of development specialists in Washington, DC,...

24 November 2006

SACU Exports to the United States Show Healthy Increase

SACU exports to the US have grown by 25% in the 9 months to September 2006, compared with the same period in 2005. Much of this increase is due to robust trade in minerals and metals, the Southern African Customs Union’s (SACU) largest export sector.Total exports to the US were valued at US$ 6.2 billion compared with US$ 5 billion the previous period. Of this, US$ 1.7 billion was exported under AGOA, meaning that it entered the United States duty free, although other exports may have likewise obtained duty-free entry where current US...

22 November 2006

SACU-US to Pursue Scaled-Back Trade Talks after FTA Process Ceases

The South African Customs Unions (SACU) has formally accepted an offer made by the US government to progress a so-called trade and investment cooperation agreement (Tica), following the breakdown of the more ambitious free-trade agreement (FTA) talks earlier in the year.South Africa's chief negotiator Xavier Carim tells Engineering News that it became apparent in about April that the Sacu-US FTA process would not meet the US's internal target of having all its trade negotiations at, or near, conclusion by the end of 2006. This deadline was...

21 November 2006

Malawi: Garment Makers Lobby for AGOA Policy Change

Several countries including Malawi are lobbying for a change of the African Growth Opportunity Act (Agoa) trade agreement, a leading player in the garment sector said Monday.The Act states that from March 2008 all Agoa beneficiaries would be required to produce textile from locally grown raw materials for export to the initiators, United States of America, duty free. But local producers use imported fabric and other raw materials to produce their garments.Chairman of the Garments and Textile Manufacturers Association of Malawi (GTMA),...

21 November 2006

SACU: US Talks are not off

The collapse of free trade talks between the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) and the US meant South Africa should now concentrate on working closely with Americans on bilateral trade negotiations, a senior department of trade and industry (dti) official said yesterday.This could be done with a view to resuming talks on a free trade agreement (FTA) down the line, said Iqbal Sharma, the department's acting deputy director-general of international trade and economic development.However, Sharma said it was difficult to tell when talks...

17 November 2006

Recovery in SA Car Exports to US Likely to Support Bilateral Trade Growth in 2006

Bilateral trade between South Africa and the world's largest economy, the US, would 'comfortably' exceed $10-billion in 2006, newly appointed Minister-Counselor for Commercial Services to South Africa Craig Allen reported.In the first nine months of the year, bilateral trade had reached $8,8-billion, with exports from South Africa rising 29,68% to $5,6-billion and imports from the US to South Africa increasing 7,68% to $3,2-billion. In 2005, South Africa exported about $6-billion of goods and services to the US and imported some...

14 November 2006

Swaziland: Exporters Battle to Meet International Standards

The country’s inadequate capacity of meeting international standards has been identified as one of the barriers that limit export growth in AGOA eligible countries.A statement sourced from the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) competitiveness report of July last year states that local producers usually report difficulties in producing output that meets European Union standards.One of Swaziland’s case was with the issue of beef exports to the EU where the latter stated that Swaziland was not meeting the required standards to allow...

10 November 2006

Tanzania: Country Struggles to Benefit from Preferential Trade Opportunities

Tanzanian businesses have not exploited export potentials and trade opportunities that abound the country.A visiting Azania Holding Company delegate Ms Mymoena Davids,which is one of America's biggest commercial establishments, told the Daily News in Dar es Salaam yesterday that neighbouring countries were cheated by exporting Tanzania's products through their countries."You are surrounded by countries with businessmen who are experienced in export trade and international businesses," the delegate noted.She said Tanzania has abundant...

07 November 2006

Rwanda: United States And Rwanda Hold High-Level Trade Talks

U.S. and Rwandan officials October 31 convened their first high-level meeting under the recently signed United States-Rwanda trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA).Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Karan Bhatia and Protais Mitali, the Rwandan minister of commerce, industry, investment promotion, tourism and cooperatives, led the talks.The meeting provided an opportunity for U.S. and Rwandan officials to review the full scope of trade and investment relations between the two countries and to identify opportunities for further...

06 November 2006

Rwanda, US to further Trade Ties

Rwanda and the United States are set to develop and diversify trade between through the US-Rwanda Trade and Investment Council, New Times revealed on Saturday.Rwanda’s Minister of Commerce, Industry, Investment Promotion, Tourism and Cooperatives, Protais Mitali, and the Deputy US Trade Representative, Karan Bhatia sealed the deal on October 31.Rwanda and US pledged to collaborate in developing further the US-sponsored programme AGOA in a national workshop for Rwanda that will be held early 2007.The meeting, the first of its kind between...

05 November 2006

Uganda: MPs blame AGOA Failure on President

Parliamentarians in Uganda claim President Yoweri Museveni's interference in the running of Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) has compromised the project.AGOA was enacted in 2000 by the United States of America to enable African countries access its market.Members of Parliament on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Wednesday 1 complained that Museveni had interfered with the management of AGOA. The committee had summoned the Permanent Secretary (PS), Sam Nahamya, to respond to queries raised by the Auditor General in his 2004/05...

01 November 2006

Botswana Has Potential For Commercial Agriculture

Rom Smet, Managing Director of Hortulus - a Gaborone-based vegetable farm - said on Friday that there is potential for commercial agriculture in Botswana despite the hostile climatic conditions."By using a technique suitable for Botswana, farming can bring money," Smet said at an agribusiness forum organised by the Botswana Development Corporation (BDC). He explained that vegetable and greenhouse agriculture, as carried out by his company, has never been done at the commercial level in Botswana before."But despite the climate and high input...

30 October 2006

Uganda: Policy for Textiles needed

LACK of a clear policy on textile industry is the reason for poor performance of the textile sector, the Managing Director Phoenix Logistics, Mr Yuichi Kashiwada, has said.For this reason, Kashiwada said, Uganda has failed to favourably compete on the international market.Kashiwada was sharing his experience in the textile business to the visiting eight-man delegation of textile producers from the United States at Grand Imperial Hotel on October 25."All what the textile industry in Uganda needs is a quick implementation of a textile policy...

30 October 2006

Ethiopia: US Market Promising for Ethiopian Made Hand Woven Clothing

Hand woven materials made by K Disign - a local midsize industry designing and producing traditional hand loomed clothing - have attracted a number of US buyers while debuting at the State's giant apparels trade show held in New York last month, Proprietor Rahel Zewde told The Daily Monitor.According to Rahel, K Design is on its way to cut some deal with potential US buyers, where eight of them have already ordered the company for sample products."With my first experience participating at a US trade show, I was able to witness the US market...

29 October 2006

South Africa: Exports to the US soar to US$ 4.9bn

Growth in South Africa's exports to the US continues to accelerate.Figures released this month by the US International Trade Commission show that in the year to August, South Africa exported goods to the value of $4.9 billion (R37 billion) to the US. This represents growth of 29 percent from the same period last year, up from growth of 25 percent in the year to June.Of South Africa's total exports in the first eight months, $1.2 billion was exported under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (Agoa) trade programme launched in February...

23 October 2006

Uganda: AGOA Factory Closes

After limping for about six years, the Tri-Star Apparels plant in Bugolobi, popularly known as Agoa has finally wound up .Information available to Daily Monitor indicates that the plant's management has suspended operations and sent workers home without any explanation.The Company's Managing Director, Mr Vellupilai Kanathan ,told Daily Monitor by telephone yesterday that the plant would resume operations in a month's time even as he admitted that "logistical hurdles" had hinted normal progress.He did not elaborate on the nature of the...

20 October 2006

Mozambique, United States discuss Trade

Mozambique's Minister of Industry and Trade, Antonio Fernando, declared on Tuesday that the government is working hard to place the country in a more favourable position for attracting investment.Fernando was addressing the closing session of the first meeting on trade between the USA and Mozambique, following the signing of a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) between the two countries in 2005.The meeting aimed at assessing the advances in aspects related to trade, the trade environment and investment, and also the...

19 October 2006

AGOA - Increasing Benefits For Cameroon

The second edition of the African Trade and Industrial Development Strategy Forum opened in Yaounde yesterday.There was every evidence at the Yaounde Conference centre yesterday that Sub-Saharan Africa wants to increase its determination to benefit from the opportunity offered by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) voted into law by the American Congress to boost trade between the African continent and the United States of American. If all what was said in the six speeches delivered during the opening ceremony of the second edition...

12 October 2006

Kenya: High Costs Hinder Manufacturing Sector

High taxation and prohibitive fuel costs are holding back the growth of the manufacturing sector, say industry players.Mr Steve Smith, the chairman of the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM), says that the sector has grown in tandem with the economy over the last three years without improving its processes."A close examination reveals that this growth has been driven more by an increase in volume of output than by improvements in efficiency and productivity," he says.The increase in output is largely explained by large exports to the US...

11 October 2006

Tanzanian Mill Eyes US Market under AGOA

Tanzanian firm Mwanza Textile Mills is eying the world market, including the trillion dollar market in United States, a spokesperson of the mills has said.The MTM Managing Director, Mr Amin Ladhan, told the visiting Deputy Minister for Industry and Trade, Dr David Mathayo David, that his mills would with effect from next fiscal year establish a knitting mill.The mill would produce various apparels stipulated in the US African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), which provides sub-Saharan African countries with an opportunity to export apparels...

04 October 2006

Overview of Proposed Changes to AGOA

A flurry of activity has seen a number of Bills being considered by the US government that could see important amendments to the AGOA legislation. The most recent Bill, by Rep. Bill Thomas (one of the original architects of the AGOA legislation), was submitted a few days ago and is currently with the House Ways and Means Committee for consideration.The Bill, named the “Africa Investment Incentive Act of 2006” (or under its formal code HR6142), can be downloaded from AGOA.info’s archives by following this link. It deals with proposed...

29 September 2006

Good Morning, Africa

Out of Africa, the headline news is usually related to the legendary four horsemen of the Apocalypse - pestilence, war, famine and death. No question, these horsemen run rampant on the continent; but there is another story worth hearing too.Take, for example, the recent World Bank report, "Doing Business," an annual survey of the countries it is easiest to do business in (Singapore is first, the United States is third). As a whole, sub-Saharan Africa does poorly. South Africa, the highest rated country, is 29th; eight of the bottom 10...

26 September 2006

Bill on Generous Rules of Origin for Africa and Haiti Postponed in US Congress?

A proposed emergency trade law introduced recently to US Congress appears to have been suspended. The bill which would have extended and amended rules of origin for sub-Sahara African countries came under pressure from influential textile lobbyists. The groups were also concerned over a controversial addition that would allow Haiti to use fabric and yarn from countries in Asia.A trade bill last week introduced to the US Congress extending and modifying the existing duty-free access for AGOA and ATPDEA countries looks set to be suspended...

26 September 2006

Proposed Amendments to AGOA Legislation

US Democratic representatives have introduced a Bill known as “The Emergency Trade Program Extension Act of 2006” to extend the Generalized System of Preferences, the Andean trade preference program and African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) for another two years. Below follows a transcript of the proposed legislation, with further explanatory notes provided by AGOA.info in parenthisis.Emergency Trade Program Extension Act of 2006 (Introduced in House)HR 6076 IH 109th CONGRESS2d SessionH. R. 6076To extend the generalized system of...

25 September 2006

Tanzania: Mission to America

A high powered Tanzanian business delegation led by President Jakaya Kikwete is in the United States on a historic mission to promote the country’s image internationally, boost trade ties and parade investment opportunities.“Tanzania is endowed with many resources, including vast arable land, wildlife, beaches and minerals. The country is, however, little known internationally for various reasons including lack of publicity.“We have now aggressively embarked on the promotional drive. Gone are the days when good things were said to be...

20 September 2006

African Investment Conference to Focus on Improving Infrastructure

Development specialists say Africa’s economic potential can not be tapped until the continent has a well-developed infrastructure. The conference is designed to mobilize American investors in the effort. It’s being organized by the Washington-based Corporate Council on Africa, the CCA, and will be held in a Washington suburb. Among the many sponsors are General Electric, and the US Department of Transportation.Stephen Hayes is the president of the CCA. He says there are a number of opportunities for US investors – a point that will be...

18 September 2006

Mauritius, US sign Trade and Investment Agreement

The United States and Mauritius signed an agreement September 18 that is intended to strengthen and expand trade ties between the two countries.The agreement, called a trade and investment framework agreement (TIFA), will provide a formal mechanism to address bilateral trade issues and help enhance trade and investment relations."Mauritius' experience demonstrates how trade and investment can fuel economic growth and development," said Deputy U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Karan Bhatia, who signed the agreement in Washington along with...

18 September 2006

US: Extension of Trade Acts, AGOA?

Fall elections, a lame-duck congressional session and the final legal paperwork on one agreement are the remaining puzzle pieces affecting when Washington might ratify trade accords with Peru and Colombia.''We think these agreements are great,'' Everett Eissenstat, assistant U.S. Trade Representative for the Americas, told participants at The Miami Herald's Americas Conference.''Will these agreements happen?'' Eissenstat asked during the final day of the event at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. ``We think [they] will.''But he added that...

16 September 2006

AGOA Supporters in US Fighting to Extend AGOA

American advocates of increased trade with Africa are warning that Kenya’s clothing-export sector will soon be devastated if Congress fails to amend the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). At issue is a section of Agoa that ends preferential access to the US market next year for African clothing exporters who continue using fabrics made in Asia or in "third parties" apart from the US or Africa.US clothing importers are thought likely to begin shifting orders away from Kenya and other Agoa-eligible countries in the coming months...

04 September 2006

Building on AGOA for African Agricultural Trade Expansion

On the final day of the annual forum on the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) last month, the United States and Rwanda signed a bilateral agreement aimed at increasing trade flow between the two countries.The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) valued Rwanda's exports to the United States at $6.3 million in 2005, up by 17 percent from 2004.By many projections, Agoa has been a positive outcome for participating countries like Rwanda, but there are still many implementation issues that impede its effectiveness and...

29 August 2006

Ghana to Host 2007 AGOA Forum

Ghana would host the sixth African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) conference probably in June next year, Mr Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade, Industry and President's Special Initiative (PSI), announced on Friday in Accra.It is expected that 1,000 to 1,500 participants from 37 African countries that are eligible in having unprecedented liberal access to the US market, since 2001 after the Act was signed in May 2000, would attend the conference.Ghana is the third African country to host the annual conference after Washington had hosted...

26 August 2006

South Africa’s Agriculture Exports to the US Growing

Based on the latest trade data recently released by US authorities, South Africa is showing solid growth in its agriculture sector exports, with a 16% rise in the year to June. This continues a recent trend whereby the sector’s exports to the US have grown from US$ 208mn in 2003 to US$ 250mn in 2005.Two thirds of South Africa’s US-bound agriculture exports fall under AGOA and are thus able to enter the US duty-free (view the US-SA bilateral trade profile here). Segments in the AGOA category that have shown good growth this year include...

22 August 2006

Zambia Strugges to Benefit from AGOA - US expert

Access by Zambian goods to the US market under the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) has not succeeded because of the uncompetitiveness of Zambian products, an American trade expert Amanda Hilligas has said. Hilligas who is AGOA trade advisor for the Southern Africa Global Competitive Hub said there were few Zambian products that could compete with other products on the American market.Speaking during a seminar on the theme ‘Doing business with the US’ at the American Centre in Lusaka yesterday, Hilligas explained that there were...

22 August 2006

Uganda: Cotton Sector Tempts Investors Globally

Ugandans cotton sector is attracting substantial private investment since its liberalization and with rejuvenation continuing rapidly again in one of the nation's most important industries, investors from across the world, including China, are now re-evaluating their options in view of the sector's much-improved prospects for manufacturing in Uganda to export directly to Asia.A doubling of ginning capacity between 1993 and 2001 reflects the renewed confidence in cotton production, while liberalization of the sector provided extra incentives...

14 August 2006

Namibia: Ramatex, Govt. hold Meetings

A veil of secrecy has been thrown around meetings between Ramatex Executive Director Albert Lim and Government in Windhoek this week.Lim reportedly slipped into the country at the beginning of week.He is said to have held closed-door meetings with Government representatives during the week.For the past two days, no Government official has wanted to comment on Lim's visit, or the talks.Unionists appeared to be unaware of the Ramatex director's visit.Ramatex employees spoken to this week suspect that Lim's visit has to do with speculation that...

11 August 2006

Africa Urged to Spread Export Product Range under AGOA

Ghana has expressed worry about the uneven nature of product lines and countries exporting items to the United States under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and called for a broader product base in order to satisfy the demands of the US market.Addressing a workshop of business operators from 18 West African countries in Accra, Mr Allan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade, Industry and President's Special Initiative (PSI) argued that statistics derived from the West African Trade Hub (WATH) showed that 85 per cent of all AGOA exports...

09 August 2006

Lesotho: Global Changes Impact Negatively

The efforts of global nongovernmental organisations to get rich countries to open their markets could have unintended negative consequences for many developing countries. ComMark says Lesotho’s textile industry still faces serious challenges, none of which are under its direct control:Major changes to the US African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), affecting Lesotho, are in the pipeline for September next year. After this date, should Lesotho firms use third-country fabrics to make garments, these exports will not qualify for duty free...

07 August 2006

Opportunities Abound as World Woos Africa

Washington recently hosted the annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) forum, an annual event mandated by the Agoa legislation which brings together stakeholders from Africa and the US.Agoa — often misunderstood to be a free-trade agreement between African countries and the US — is in fact a piece of US legislation enacted six years ago which scrapped import duties on about 7000 qualifying tariff lines sourced from (currently 37) eligible sub-Saharan African states.There are two obvious benefits: enhanced competitiveness for...

07 August 2006

Africa's Opportunities 'Lie Close to Home'

Officials from the US and African diaspora yesterday urged African countries to look inwards to find economic breakthroughs and much-needed investments.Florizelle Liser, a senior official in the US trade representative office, said African nations had advantages they could learn to exploit. "Africa has a comparative advantage in agriculture. All it needs to do is to follow all the necessary steps, do its homework well to get its products marketable in the US," Liser told the seventh Leo Sullivan H summit in Abuja.The four-day investment...

19 July 2006

'Africa Open to Business'

Stressing gains in financial stability and democratisation, African heads of state meeting with hundreds of foreign business leaders called on Monday for stepped-up investment in the continent.Nigerian foreign minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said: "Africa is changing. Both economic and political landscapes are improving."Economic fundamentals in most countries are looking good and are improving each year," she told the Leon H Sullivan Summit, the seventh since 1991.Themed "Africa: A Continent of Opportunities - Building Partnerships for...

17 July 2006

AGOA Enhancing Africa's Economy But More Can Be Done

The historic African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is helping to stimulate economic growth and investment in sub-Saharan Africa, but it is "not succeeding enough," said Florizelle Liser, assistant U.S. trade representative for Africa.AGOA is a U.S. law that provides duty-free access to wide range of some 6,400 products - including textiles - into the U.S. market for African nations willing to reform their economies along free-market lines. The landmark trade legislation - the first of its kind with Africa - was passed by Congress in 2000...

17 July 2006

US Rekindles Scramble for Africa as China Pulls in

Following years of playing hardball during the failed SACU-US FTA negotiations, it seems as if the United States is engaging in a new push for Africa. The latter was hardly on the US policy agenda a decade ago when the original African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) legislation was introduced to Congress in the late 1990’s; since then, AGOA (through clever marketing often seen on the continent as the panacea for Africa’s disproportionately low participation in international trade) has not only changed the way in which the private...

12 July 2006

Extension to AGOA Likely According to Kenya's Trade Minister

A trade agreement permitting duty-free imports of Kenya-made textile and clothing made by extended beyond next year.The extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), which has helped textile industries thrive, would be a welcome relief to firms at the Export Processing Zones. The companies have seen their exports drop after the removal of preferential quotas favouring poor countries.Trade and Industry minister Mukhisa Kituyi said that three of the four countries which were against an application to the World Trade Organisation...

12 July 2006

Making a Travesty of Free Trade

As the “development round” of trade talks moves into its final stages, it is becoming increasingly clear the goal of promoting development will not be served and the multilateral trade system will be undermined. Nowhere is this clearer than in a provision that is supposed to give the least developed countries almost duty-free access to developed countries’ markets. A year ago, the leaders of the world’s richest countries committed themselves to alleviating the plight of the poorest. At Doha, in November 2001, they pledged to give...

11 July 2006

Cameroon: Businessmen Seek Government's AGOA Assistance

Francophone and Lusophone African countries are mobilising to reap the maximum trade benefits offered by the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) that sets out to facilitate the sell of African products in American markets. In order to realise the objective, Francophone and Lusophone African countries after observing that they did benefit from the business opportunities offered by the US, in 2004 created a network called "AGOA-net".Members of the delegation of AGOA-net yesterday held talks with Prime Minister Ephraim Inoni during an...

07 July 2006

Sierra Leone: Take Advantage of AGOA

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr. Kadie Sesay has said in Freetown that the West Africa Trade Hub (WATH), a USAID Africa trade development project based in Accra, Ghana and Dakarr Senegal, is made up of experts who help countries and businesses to take advantage of the US Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA). She was speaking at the end of a three-day national workshop on Sanitary and Photo-sanitary (SPS) Regional Harmonization, which was held at the Miatta Conference Hall, Youyi Building. The workshop was organized by Standard...

07 July 2006

Lesotho: Positive News from the Textile Industry

Lesotho's single largest employer, the textile industry, has made a remarkable comeback, setting an example for the region and giving thousands back their jobs."All the factories that were closed have been reopened - the number of jobs that had shrunk from just over 50,000 to below 40,000 have now climbed back to around 47,000," Andy Salm, Regional Textile and Apparel Specialist at ComMark Trust, an NGO that monitors the industry in Southern Africa, told IRIN.Lesotho was an early victim of cheap Chinese exports to the key US market when the...

03 July 2006

Uganda: More AGOA Jobs May Be Lost

The imminent expiry of third country fabric sourcing under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) poses a great challenge to African countries, including Uganda that are exporting apparels to the US market under the quota and tariff-free initiative.The third country fabric sourcing expires on September 30, 2007. The extension of this critical provision would determine the survival of the few textile factories on the continent and the retention of the remaining 200,000 jobs. Up to 100,000 jobs have already been lost across the...

02 July 2006
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