Agoa.info - African Growth and Opportunity Act
TRALAC - Trade Law Centre
You are here: Home/News

News Search

or Reset

Kenya: Textiles Won't Save Exporters

Overdependence on textile exports is partly to blame for the woes now facing Kenya two years before a key trade treaty with the United States runs out.The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) purports to offer textile producers from the continent preferential access to the United States market.But now the Export Promotion Council (EPC) is advising producers to begin diversifying if they wish to be cushioned against competition from Asian textile producers before the treaty ends in 2008.PromotionEPC chief executive Matanda Wabuyele said...

30 June 2006

Namibia: New Markets for Grape Industry

Namibia's grape markets are set to increase with the likelihood that the country will start exporting grapes to the USA through the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) from next year.With the oversupply of traditional grape markets, namely Europe and UK, the move will improve the prices that Namibia gets at present."We never had a market to the USA. If a market can open for us we will be able to get rid of excess fruit," said André Vermaak, General Manager: Group of Companies of the Grape Value Management Company in Noordoewer.Getting...

27 June 2006

Mauritius: Country Eyes Southern Africa As US, EU Textile Exports Flounder

Mauritius is shifting attention to southern Africa as it seeks to revive the fortunes of its key textiles sector affected by the 2005 removal of export privileges into the United States and European Union (EU).A mountainous island on the Indian Ocean to the east of Madagascar, Mauritius is one of the countries negatively affected by the 2005 removal of a quota system that had protected European, American and Canadian textile industries from cheap Asian imports while guaranteeing easy access to African textile and apparel producers.The new...

27 June 2006

US Seeking New Trade Pacts With Africa

After calling off negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with five Southern African countries last month, the US has indicated its intentions to negotiate new trade arrangements with several African countries including Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique and Ghana.The last two, which are significant recipients of US aid in Africa, have already approached Washington, confirming the seriousness of their intention.The new strategy signals a radical shift in US approach towards Africa, which has previously not featured significantly in the US...

26 June 2006

South Africa: Clothing Sector Urged to go Niche, not Fight China

South African clothing manufacturers and designers should concentrate on producing high quality, "distinctively South African" clothing that could capture niche markets which were not in direct competition with the efficient Chinese, Free Market Foundation director Eustace Davie and economist Jasson Urbach said.In an article released on Wednesday entitled "Strengthening strategic ties with China" in the context of the visit of Premier Wen Jiabao of China to President Thabo Mbeki on Thursday, the two said: "South African manufacturers should...

22 June 2006

AGOA Forum 2006: Stakeholders Seek Ways To Broaden AGOA Opportunities

When the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was enacted in 2001, the legislation "changed U.S. political discourse with African countries from begging bowl to business partner," David Beckman, president of Bread for the World, told a gathering of non-governmental organizations convened to examine Agoa's impact on economic growth and poverty reduction on the African continent.Over the past five years, the law has reduced trade barriers and stimulated job creation and opportunities for private enterprises in those African countries that...

12 June 2006

Corporate Coucil on Africa: Assessment of the AGOA Private Sector Forum

On Monday, June 5th, 2006, the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) held a highly successful one-day African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Private Sector Forum in Washington, D.C. CCA’s Private Sector Forum complemented the 2006 AGOA Ministerial hosted by the U.S. Department of State from June 6th to 7th, 2006, the AGOA Civil Society Forum hosted by Bread for the World also on June 6th and 7th, and the AGOA Investment Summit hosted by The Whitaker Group on June 7th. Two hundred and seventy-five U.S. and African public and private sector...

12 June 2006

AGOA Forum 2006 in Pictures

Pictures from the 2006 Annual AGOA Forum held in Washington, D.C. from 05 June to 07 June.Remarks by Ambassador Karan Bhatia, Deputy US Trade RepresentativeFrom left to right: Ambassador Karan Bhatia, Deputy US Trade Representative; Bobby Pittman, Principal Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs; Mr Stephen Hayes, President of the Corporate Council on AfricaAt the Panel Workshop on African Textiles and Apparel: Mr Paul Ryberg, President, Africa Coalition for Trade; Ms Florizelle Liser, Assistant USTR for Africa, Mr Wilson Hunt,...

10 June 2006

Transcript of Condoleezza Rice's Address to the AGOA Forum

Secretary Rice: Thank you very much. Since Jendayi told you something about me that you might not know, I have to tell you something about Jendayi that you might not know. Jendayi, in fact, was my student at Stanford University when she was a sophomore. And she was sitting in the back of the class and she already had a strong interest in Africa and over the years I want to say that I've learned more about Africa from her than probably she has from me. Jendayi, thank you for your leadership. (Applause.)Unless you think that this connection...

08 June 2006

AGOA Forum: Meetings with Senators on Capitol Hill

As part of the AGOA Forum in Washington, participants in the Civil Society Forum were provided with the unique opportunity to meet directly with various US Senators on Capitol Hill and to discuss current issues and concerns. These Senators included the original architects of the AGOA trade legislation, as well as subsequent legislative amendments such as the extension of AGOA’s fabric provisions to 2007. Delegates were further provided with the opportunity of an intensive consultative session with various Congressional Staffers, who are...

08 June 2006

US Committed to Helping Africa Through Partnership, Rice Says

Both Americans and Africans prosper under conditions created by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and therefore the United States stands committed to helping the people of Africa realize their aspirations through partnership, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pledged June 6 (Read a transcript of her speech here)."Our policy toward Africa is rooted in partnership, not paternalism, in doing things with the peoples of Africa, not for the peoples of Africa," Rice said, opening the fifth annual AGOA Forum.Rice called AGOA a...

06 June 2006

USAID Administrator Affirms US Economic Commitment to Africa

Speaking at a conference in Washington June 6, Randall L. Tobias, director for U.S. foreign assistance and administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), affirmed the United States' commitment to the African private sector. However, he also emphasized African governments' responsibility to their own people."Working together, we can make a difference in developing a better future for children, and their mothers and fathers all across the African continent," Tobias said in remarks to the opening day of the fifth...

06 June 2006

Letters from Washington: AGOA Forum Private Sector Session

The 2006 AGOA Forum commenced Monday 05 June in Washington D.C. with a gathering of private sector stakeholders and government officials from both sides of the Atlantic. The AGOA Forum comprises three events: the Ministerial, comprising meetings between African trade ministers (with most AGOA beneficiaries represented) and their US counterparts, a parallel Private Sector Forum (providing an interface between government officials and the private sector), and the Civil Society Forum which brought together stakeholders from a wide variety of...

05 June 2006

U.S. Businesses Convene for AGOA Private Sector Forum on June 5

The Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) announced today that the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Jendayi Frazer, will open the 2006 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Private Sector Forum on June 5, 2006 in Washington, D.C. Ambassador Karan K. Bhatia, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative, will also provide remarks at the opening plenary on Monday morning at the Hilton Washington hotel.Another highlight of this year's AGOA Private Sector Forum is a luncheon featuring the Ministers of Trade from the 37 countries eligible under...

02 June 2006

Africa: Loss of Textile Market Costs African Jobs

Operating a spinning machine at an Eritrean textile factory: In face of stiff competition, it is not easy for African manufacturers to modernize their operations.All across Africa, textile producers and exporters are reeling from the impact of new trade rules that took effect in January 2005. The rules, negotiated at the World Trade Organization (WTO), opened up to market forces a sector that had been protected for more than 30 years. It did so by ending a quota system in industrial nations which as a side effect had provided a ready market...

01 June 2006

Malawi Exports $90 Million to US Under AGOA

Malawi's export to the United States, under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has totalled close to $90mn, said Malawi's Ministry of Trade and Private Sector Development.Harrison Mandindi said that Malawi had managed to increase exports to the US under AGOA, but that many viable export opportunities still need to be tapped into.Mandindi said that Malawi had registered an increase in volumes of exported dried fruits, macadamia nuts and textile products."We are the largest exporter of dried fruits like mango and nuts to the United...

31 May 2006

Nigeria: Huge Job Losses in Textile Industry

Over half a million textile workers have lost their jobs since the reforms of the federal government started about seven years ago, the director general of the Nigerian Textile, Garment and Tailoring Employers' Association, Mr. Jaiyeola Paul Olarewaju has disclosed.Mr. Jaiyeola told Daily Trust after a meeting of the governing council of the Nigerian Textile Manufacturers' Association (NTMA) in Kaduna at the weekend that before the reforms, there were over 50 textile mills in Lagos employing over a million workers ,but today there are less...

30 May 2006

Namibia: Workers Anti Ramatex Buyout by Government

Namibian workers believe that government should not succumb to the pressure from Ramatex to buy the troubled company.Secretary General of the National Union of Namibian Workers (NUNW) Evilastus Kaaronda told New Era yesterday that the general feeling expressed by the workers is that "Government has given too much already to the Malaysian company and now should stand its ground during the negotiations".The Namibian government and the City of Windhoek have provided Ramatex enormous financial benefits such as subsidised water and electricity...

29 May 2006

2006 AGOA Report Sent to US Congress

The 2006 Comprehensive Report on US Trade and Investment Policy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa and Implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been submitted to the US congress. The report compiled by the US Trade Representative notes that two-way trade between the US and sub-Saharan African countries has increased 115% since AGOA's launch in 2000.It also describes the wide array of US programs that are assisting African countries to bolster economic growth and development through trade. "AGOA helps Africans use the power...

26 May 2006

Private Sector, Trade Main Issues for Africa Trade Act Forum

"The time is now for economic development in Africa," and it is precisely that point that will be emphasized at the upcoming fifth annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Trade Forum, says Lloyd O. Pierson, assistant administrator for Africa at the U.S. Agency for International Development. In a May 24 interview with the Washington File, Pierson said the June 6-7 forum will be held in Washington in 2006 with the theme of "The Private Sector and Trade: Powering Africa's Growth.""I think you will not see any type of large announcement...

24 May 2006

Namibia: Mixed Signals Over Future of Ramatex

The Prime Minister's Office and the Ramatex Textile Factory have issued a joint statement, but with contradictory signals about the future of the factory's operations in Namibia.On the one hand, the parties said they were "currently engaged in serious discussions on the project" with a view to finding an "amicable solution" and "settlement", while on the other not denying that the company's continued presence in the country depended on these factors."Ramatex intends to remain within the framework of the existing arrangements," said the...

22 May 2006

Lesotho Pins Hopes on U2's BONO

Maseru - The desperate nation of Lesotho is pinning high hopes on Irish rock star Bono to rescue its embattled clothing and textile industry, the fraying mainstay of the economy.Bono, the front man for U2 and crusader for African development, visited Lesotho this week on a six-nation tour of Africa to put the international spotlight on the continent's problems.He met King Letsie III, Queen Masenate Mohato Bereng Seeiso, and the minister of trade and industries, co-operatives and marketing, Mpho Malie, to discuss how to persuade foreigners to...

21 May 2006

US-African Trade Increased 115 Percent Since AGOA's Enactment

Two-way trade between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa increased 115 percent since the launch in 2000 of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), according to a report submitted to the United States Congress May 18. (Download the report here.The annual report, called the 2006 Comprehensive Report on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa and Implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, describes the wide array of U.S. programs that are assisting African countries to bolster economic growth and...

19 May 2006

Tanzania: Exports Grow Under AGOA, But Still Below Potential

Tanzania has recorded a modest increase in its volume of exports to the United States under the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) over the past year but more needs to be done for the country to benefit fully from the facility.Tanzania's Minister for Industry, Trade and Marketing, Nazir Karamagi, said while the US, through its Dar es Salaam embassy, has been assisting local entrepreneurs to understand the US market and develop relationships that are critical for market entry, the government has also been working with the private sector to...

16 May 2006

Namibia: Ramatex Garment Factory to Quit?

Namibia's government will have to cough up in the region of half a billion Namibian dollars to buy the Ramatex Textile Factory if it wants to keep the more than 6 000 workers from losing their jobs.It will have to make this decision within the next week.This is what the Executive Director of the Ramatex Berhad group, Albert Lim Poh Boon, put to Prime Minister Nahas Angula last week.After only four years in the country, the factory plans to shut up shop soon.What Ramatex management has shrugged off as rumours in recent months, has now been...

15 May 2006

US Invites Ministers to Talks On Market Access

Washington has invited African trade and finance ministers for talks on the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) - the US partial free trade regime for imports from Africa.This will be the fifth round of the Agoa Forum, which aims to remove stumbling blocks that prevent African countries gaining greater access to US markets.Discussions will also look into whether or not the initiative has succeeded in spurring entrepreneurial activity in African countries, and improving their investment climates.The US said it was also keen to discuss...

15 May 2006

US Announces Fifth Africa Trade Forum for Washington

The fifth African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum will be held in Washington June 6-7, and will focus on the private sector and helping eligible African nations develop real growth in gross domestic product through trade expansion into U.S. markets, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Jendayi Frazer announced May 11.Frazer told journalists at a May 11 briefing that more than 35 African trade and finance ministers will attend the AGOA forum, as will hundreds of participants of the private sector and civil society.She...

12 May 2006

Southern Africa: Is the US Trade Agenda Falling Apart at the Seams?

U.S. Activists for trade justice dubbed the week of April 16 as the week of action. By the end of the week, thanks to key events revealing an unraveling of the Bush administration's free trade agenda, trade activists campaigning for a more just global trade system celebrated victory.Globally, the U.S. has been aggressively parading a model of free trade touted to catalyze development and lift countries out of poverty. A closer look at the details of particular free trade agreements (FTAs) reveals this assertion to be ridiculous. Not unlike...

04 May 2006

Kenya: Support the AGOA Initiative, China Told

Kenya has asked China to withdraw its objection for extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).Kituyi said China had threatened to block the trade arrangement through the World Trade Organisation citing the trade arrangement sponsored by the US was not compatible with WTO rules.Kituyi who held talks with visiting Chinese Commerce Minister, Bo Xilai, said Africa wants China to drop its objection as away of helping the continent grow its economies. Exports of textile and apparel from Africa dominate trade under the Agoa...

29 April 2006

SA Clothing Industry can be Profitable - Levi Strauss

The strong performance of the Levi clothing factory in Cape Town, one of only five Levi-owned factories left in the world, over the past few years shows that the local clothing industry can be profitable while maintaining global best practice operationally.Although tens of thousands of jobs have been lost in South Africa's clothing and textiles industry in the past three years as factories have closed their doors in the face of stiff competition from China and elsewhere in Asia, the Levi factory at Epping has gone from strength to strength,...

26 April 2006

SACU-US Trade Talks: The 'One Size' Pact That Doesn't Fit All

Several business and nongovernmental organisations lay the blame for what some describe as a halt in free-trade talks between Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) and the US at the door of the world’s largest economy. The US’s approach to the talks has been seen as inflexible by it asking Sacu members SA, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland to sign up to the “template” that the US applies in free-trade talks with other countries or blocs, rather than engaging in real negotiation. US negotiators’ hands are somewhat tied by...

25 April 2006

Uganda: New Coffee Firm Leases Bugolobi AGOA Plant

A new coffee-processing company, House of Uganda Coffee Ltd., has won a 49-year lease to use part of the former Coffee Marketing Board premises at Bugolobi. Uganda Property Holdings Ltd, the custodian of most government properties, granted the lease for which Uganda Coffee will pay an annual rental fee of Shs56m. The company will share the premises with Apparels Tri-Star, the firm that produces textiles for the United States market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, Agoa. With the Shs6 billion it plans to invest in processing...

23 April 2006

Kenya: Trade Gap With U.S. Widens As Textile Sales Fall

A drop in Kenya's textile exports to the United States contributed to a large trade imbalance between the two countries last year.New figures show that the entry of Asian countries into the competition for the US textile market has already cut gains made by the Kenya and the US in the last two years to narrow the trade deficit. with statistics from the US commerce department.The data from the US Commerce department shows that Kenya's textile and apparel sales to the US under the preferential terms of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act...

19 April 2006

US Committed to Strengthening Trade Relationship with SACU

This year presents a number of opportunities on the global trade front for the US and the countries of the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu).First, there is the Doha development round, a once-in-a-generation opportunity to liberalise world trade and stimulate economic growth and development.As a leader of the developing world, South Africa has an important role to play in pushing these World Trade Organisation negotiations to an ambitious outcome. We must work together to ensure that this opportunity to improve the global economy and...

18 April 2006

SACU-US: United States 'Not Budging' on Trade Talks

The United States hopes to agree a road-map with southern Africa on reaching a trade pact this week but will not budge on key issues that have previously stalled talks, a top official said on Monday.Deputy US trade representative Karan Bhatia said he hoped talks on Tuesday with the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) - which comprises South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland and Lesotho - would yield a plan for boosting trade.No compromiseBut he said the US would not compromise on issues like intellectual property, government procurement...

17 April 2006

Kenya: US to Help Make Goods Competitive

The US is ready to help Kenya reduce the cost of production, which makes the country's exports unable to compete in the international markets.Deputy US Trade Representative, Karan Bhatia, said in Nairobi that the cost of production in Kenya is making the country's products unable to compete with those from China in the US market.Bhatia, who was in Nairobi for the meeting of African Union Trade Ministers, also said Kenya should diversify its exports to the US."The US has increased its aid dedicated to boosting trade in Africa. It should make...

16 April 2006

Loss of Textile Market Costs African Jobs

All across Africa, textile producers and exporters are reeling from the impact of new trade rules that took effect in January 2005. The rules, negotiated at the World Trade Organization (WTO), opened up to market forces a sector that had been protected for more than 30 years. It did so by ending a quota system in industrial nations which as a side effect had provided a ready market for textiles and apparel from poor African and other developing countries.The phasing out of the old system has already cost Africa more than 250,000 jobs over...

15 April 2006

Statement by the USTR at the African Union Trade Ministerial

Ambassador Bhatia: First, on behalf of the United States, I would like to convey our deepest condolences to the government and people of Kenya on the recent air crash tragedy. Our thoughts are with the families of those who were affected.I want to thank our co-hosts -- African Union Trade Commissioner Tankeu and Kenyan Trade and Industry Minister Kituyi -- for inviting the United States to participate in this ministerial meeting. Let me convey warm greetings from President Bush and from Ambassador Portman, who very much wanted to be here...

14 April 2006

Ethiopia: Export to U.S. Under AGOA Growing

A USAID-funded programme working on the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) VEGA Ethiopia said that the country's export to the US under the initiative is steadily increasing.In an exclusive interview with The Ethiopian Herald yesterday, Programme Chief of Staff Addis Alemayehu said that Ethiopia exported items worth of 700,000 dollars in 2001 growing to 1.7 million in 2003. In 2004 and 2005 the country exported goods worth of 3.3 and 3.6 million USD respectively.Currently, Ethiopia ranks 19th among the 37 AGOA eligible countries in terms...

07 April 2006

Namibia: Rumours Rattle Ramatex

Fears are intensifying among workers that Namibia's biggest textile manufacturer, Ramatex Textile Factory, plans to scale down operations dramatically, if not shut down its Windhoek operations completely.Workers are on tenterhooks as reports swirl that as many as 3 000 of them could face retrenchment and that equipment from the factory buildings are being packed into containers and shipped out of the country.Prime Minister Nahas Angula told The Namibian on Wednesday that the situation was "worrying", but that the factory had to be given the...

07 April 2006

South Africa: Mercedes Hopes for AGOA Benefits on Exports to US

Daimler Chrysler SA, which yesterday reported record revenues of R27,5bn for last year, will become the second car maker in SA to export to the US if it qualifies for benefits under that country’s Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).US customs authorities will make a ruling in the next three or four weeks on whether local content in the Mercedes Benz C-Class that the car maker is looking to sell in the US is sufficient under Agoa criteria to qualify for lower import duties.This did not necessarily mean that the car maker would...

30 March 2006

Tanzanians Shy Away From AGOA

Tanzanian business investors have been advised to put some efforts to explore the US-sponsored African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) markets like other investors from Kenya and Uganda.The Chairman of East Africa Business Council (EABC), Mr. Anorld Kileo on March 13 said unlike its counterparts Kenya and Uganda, Tanzania was lacking behind in selling its products in AGOA markets despite being given additional time. He was addressing the Regional Meeting on Investment Promotion held at the Arusha International Conference Centre.He noted...

25 March 2006

Ethiopia: A Look at the Garment Industry

The garment industry in the country has become one of the most growing industries. Many business people are engaged in the industry and have become successful. Despite its huge potential and strategic significance, the sector is still at an embryonic stage of development. That is, the performance of the sector is very low.Ato Elias Meshesha, general manager of Spectrum Garment Industry, who has worked in the garment industry for the past thirty years and is an expert on the subject, said that garment industries in their country are still in...

18 March 2006

South Africa: Textile Company Stays Afloat due to AGOA

Southern Textiles, a Durban-based company that manufactures for the clothing, shoe, luggage and upholstery industries, has lost about 40 percent of its revenue to Chinese imports, but has still managed to remain successful because of its flexibility."The clothing industry has been the worst hit but luggage has been doing fine and upholstery has done very well," Robert Patchappen, the director, said yesterday.The trimming manufacturing company, which operates on a 24-hour basis and has a staff of 120, has been struggling against Chinese...

16 March 2006

Uganda: Textile Industry Receives Boost

Uganda has moved a step ahead in beating the September 2007 expiry of third party fabric sourcing under the AGOA initiative by clinching a deal with an American investor to set up a spinning, weaving and dying mill.The new $20m (about sh36b) investment is a joint venture between Apparels Tri-Star and ISIS Pacific Capital Inc, a New York-based textile and garment company.The proposed mill will be set up within the existing Tri-Star premises at Bugolobi in Kampala within six months, James Langford, the Pacific Capital president, said last...

13 March 2006

Uganda: Tristar Apparel Gets $20m Boost in Joint Venture Deal

ISIS Pacific Capital, a US-based company is set to invest $20m (about Shs36.2b) in Uganda's apparels sector.Meeting President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at State House, Nakasero on March 9, the company's Chief Executive Officer, Mr James Langford said the firm plans to inject the money in Uganda to boost the country's textile sector.According to the press statement, Langford said ISIS Pacific Capital was making preparations to make a joint venture in the textile industry with Uganda's Apparels Tristar Ltd.The textile expert said the funds would...

13 March 2006

Kenyan Exporters Tipped on US Market

Kenyan entrepreneurs were yesterday petitioned to increase exports to the United States market that is valued at Sh4 billion annually.Matanda Wabuyele, the Export Promotions Council chief executive, also called for diversification of the range of Kenyan exports to value added components."The challenge exporters face is not just increasing volume of exports to US, but also diversifying the range of exports by ensuring there was more value adding," he said. Wabuyele made the remarks during a workshop on doing business with US at a Nairobi...

08 March 2006

South Africa: Clothing Industry Sounds the Alarm over Critical Mass

The clothing industry is perilously close to minimum critical mass and if the dramatic surge in undervalued imports is left unchecked, could decline to the point where the sector is no longer of any interest to global sourcing companies.This is the view of Jack Kipling, the chairman of the Export Council for the Clothing Industry, who said the sector could also decline to the point where it was unable to support the local textile and components suppliers, such as zip and thread manufacturers."The only way to avoid this," he said, "is if...

06 March 2006
You are here: Home/News