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House Ways and Means Committee Chairman asks US trade commission to investigate impact of AGOA program

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman asks US trade commission to investigate impact of AGOA program
House Ways and Means Chairman Neal
Published date:
Wednesday, 19 January 2022
Author:
Congressman Richard Neal

Today, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard E. Neal (D-MA) sent a letter to U.S. International Trade Commission (Commission) Chairman Jason E. Kearns requesting that the Commission initiate a fact-finding investigation on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), a trade program that fosters economic development in the countries of sub-Saharan Africa (SSA).

Chairman Neal’s request reflects deep interest among members of the Committee on the U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship and follows recent Committee activity. Late last year, the Trade Subcommittee held a hearing on increasing U.S.-Africa trade and investment.

The Committee has also led congressional engagement with African trade ministers during the 2021 AGOA forum and hosted a meeting with the President of Kenya.

“Currently, the AGOA program expires on September 30, 2025. As the Committee considers the future of the program, I request, on behalf of the Committee, pursuant to section 332(g) of the Tariff Act of 1930, that the U.S. International Trade Commission (the Commission) conduct an investigation and provide a report on the AGOA program in general and its usage,” wrote Chairman Neal. 

“The report should also provide industry case studies to better understand the relative competitiveness of each sector and its impact on workers, economic development, and poverty reduction.”  

Specifically, Chairman Neal requested an overview of the AGOA program and its use, including the role that AGOA has played in regional integration, as well as the extent to which AGOA has impacted workers and underserved communities, and contributed to economic development—including job growth and poverty reduction—in SSA countries. In addition, Neal requested case studies on the cotton, apparel, chemicals, and cocoa industries in sub-Saharan Africa. 

“I request that the Commission transmit its report no later than 14 months following receipt of this request,” concluded Neal. “It is my intent to make the Commission’s report available to the public in its entirety; therefore, the report should not include any confidential business information.” 

Full text of the letter can be downloaded from the link above.  

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