Agoa.info - African Growth and Opportunity Act
TRALAC - Trade Law Centre
You are here: Home/News/Article/US trade chief Tai says African trade program needs to foster more investment

US trade chief Tai says African trade program needs to foster more investment

US trade chief Tai says African trade program needs to foster more investment
Published date:
Monday, 12 December 2022
Author:
David Lawder

The duty-free access for nearly 40 African countries in a 22-year-old U.S. trade program is no longer enough to boost their development and a focus on improving investment is needed, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said on Tuesday.

Tai, after a meeting with African counterparts at the start of a Sub-Saharan African leaders summit in Washington, said the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) needs improving to foster more equitable and sustainable growth. 

Speaking at a U.S. Export-Import Bank conference, Tai said ministers told her they needed more investment in addition to market access.

"We want you to work with us on fostering...economic environments that are conducive to greater confidence for investors," Tai said was message from ministers.

Earlier, Tai told ministers she wanted to conduct an "honest assessment" of AGOA, which has underpinned U.S.-Africa trade for more than two decades.

AGOA, first enacted in 2000 to boost growth, development and governance reforms in Africa, is due to expire on Sept. 30, 2025. The program also requires steps such as such as eliminating barriers to U.S. trade and investment. 

Tai said she was "interested in discussing today ways in which we can improve AGOA - including how we can increase the utilization rates, particularly among smaller and less-developed countries, as well as ensure that the program's benefits fully reach all segments of society."

Research from the Brookings Institution last year showed that only about half of AGOA-eligible countries had strategies in place to make full use of their benefits under the program.

The world was "very different" from AGOA's initial years, Tai said, with fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia's invasion of Ukraine exposing the fragility of supply chains, along with a worsening climate crisis.

AGOA offered promise as a "stepping stone to address regional and global challenges," especially with Africa's young and entrepreneurial population, she said.

"The future is Africa, and engaging with this continent is the key to prosperity for all of us," Tai added.

Among the biggest beneficiaries of AGOA are oil exporters Nigeria and Angola, as well as the region's largest economy, South Africa. 

Kenya, which depends on AGOA for its growing apparel exports to the United States, has engaged in a non-tariff trade and investment dialogue with Washington, which may lead to more comprehensive trade negotiations.

At an event on Monday, Tai said the United States would also sign a memorandum of understanding with the 55-state African Continental Free Trade Area to explore work on the next phases of the U.S.-African trade relationship.

Read related news articles

US-Africa trade deal turns 25 next year: AGOA's winners, losers and what should come next

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) is a landmark piece of trade legislation enacted by the United States in 2000. Its goal is to promote economic growth, development and poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa by providing qualifying countries with duty-free access to the US market for over 6,500 products. By eliminating import tariffs and quotas, Agoa aims to stimulate trade, attract foreign investment and foster economic...

06 May 2024

African trade coalition backs AGOA 16-year renewal bill to boost trade prospects

The African Coalition for Trade (ACT) has voiced its support for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Renewal and Improvement Act of 2024 and credits the bill with creating hundreds of thousands of direct jobs in Africa and the US. The AGOA Renewal and Improvement Act of 2024 which was introduced by Senators Chris Coons and James Risch would extend the bill for 16 years until 2041 and continue to boost Africa’s duty-free status as...

18 April 2024

US apparel and footwear industry supports 16 year AGOA renewal

The American Apparel & Footwear Association applauds Senator Chris Coons (D-DE) and Senator James Risch (R-ID) for introducing the AGOA Renewal and Improvement Act of 2024.Currently set to expire in September 2025, AGOA is a pivotal trade preference program that provides duty-free access to the U.S. market, fostering economic growth and opportunity between the U.S. and eligible African countries. This program is the cornerstone of...

11 April 2024

US senators will introduce bill to renew Africa trade pact through 2041 [Download copy]

A bipartisan group of senators will introduce a bill to renew the United States' trade pact with sub-Saharan Africa ahead of its expiration next year, an aide to one of the senators said on Thursday.  [    Download it here and download a summary here] The bill was introduced by Senators Chris Coons, a Democrat, and James Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A cross-party group of...

11 April 2024

US manufacturing subsidies for Africa could help revive AGOA

Experts at the Center for Global Development argue that the unconventional approach could bring billions in new trade opportunities and would fit with US “friend-shoring” efforts. The US should pay ‘negative tariffs’ in Africa – essentially targeted manufacturing subsidies – to help revive its faltering African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA),  according to a new report from the Washington-based Center for Global...

05 April 2024

USTR releases President Biden’s 2024 trade policy agenda and 2023 annual report

The Office of the United States Trade Representative today released President Biden’s 2024 Trade Policy Agenda and 2023 Annual Report to Congress, which details USTR’s work to advance President Biden’s trade agenda.  The President’s 2024 Trade Policy Agenda stands up for workers’ rights and sustainable trade practices, supports U.S. farmers, ranchers, fishers, and food manufacturers, bolsters supply chain resilience,...

05 March 2024

US and African civil society stakeholders seek AGOA extension

A Civil Society Organisation, Network and other stakeholders from across the United States and African Growth and Opportunity Act-eligible countries have petitioned the President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, to consider an extension of the initiative. The CSO made the plea in a letter dated February 16, 2024, titled ‘Petition for Timely Re-Authorisation and Enhancement of the African Growth and Opportunity Act Beyond...

16 February 2024

House Ways and Means Committee leadership statement on meeting with ambassadors from select AGOA countries

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) and Ranking Member Richard E. Neal (MA-01) released the following statement after hosting a bipartisan roundtable with Committee members and ambassadors from several African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) countries. AGOA is a U.S. trade program focused on strengthening economic ties between the United States and nations in Sub-Saharan Africa. “We appreciate the ambassadors from...

18 January 2024

WEF - How has AGOA benefited African countries?

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a trade agreement between the United States and sub-Saharan African countries. Agoa has helped to increase trade and investment between Africa and the US. It has also helped to create jobs and boost economic growth in Africa. African countries are calling for it to be extended. To what extent has the AGOA goal been achieved? The duty- and quota-free access to the US market granted by Agoa...

16 November 2023

South Africa’s AGOA forum: Crafting future pathways for US-Africa trade partnership

Ultimately the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) could be extended by 16 years, that means until 2041, indicating its importance for strengthening Africa’s trade and economic cooperation with United States. That was, in fact, the main focus during Johannesburg’s early November forum that brought together more than 30 trade ministers, astute investors plus representatives from the regional economic blocs and the African Union. At...

14 November 2023

Africa-US trade: AGOA expires in 2025 - what has it achieved in 23 years?

African governments are seeking an extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) beyond 2025. The law was enacted in 2000 to “encourage increased trade and investment between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa”. We asked David Luke, who specialises in African trade policy and trade negotiations, what benefits Agoa has brought for qualifying African countries and how it can...

12 November 2023

You are here: Home/News/Article/US trade chief Tai says African trade program needs to foster more investment