Senators Coons, Scott, colleagues call on Senate to prioritize reauthorizing AGOA [Letter]
U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) led 11 of their Senate colleagues in an open letter, urging Senate leadership to prioritize reauthorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in the coming months.
AGOA’s authorization expires in September 2025.
The Senators write, “The African Growth and Opportunity Act is the foundation of the United States’ economic relationship with sub-Saharan Africa. By lowering the cost of trade and encouraging investment in the region, AGOA creates valuable opportunities for U.S. businesses, workers, and consumers.
At the same time, by facilitating over $9 billion in exports from 35 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, AGOA promotes sustainable economic growth and development throughout the region, which, in turn, promotes stability and strengthens our national security. However, for this value to be fully realized, Congress must act soon to extend the program.
They continue, “African leaders and American businesses are calling for AGOA’s extension and urging Congress to work expeditiously to extend the program into the next decade. We agree.
While there are aspects of AGOA that Congress should seek to improve, we believe the priority should be renewing the program as soon as possible and for a lengthy period. Renewing AGOA will reinforce the economic gains facilitated by the program to date and unlock new opportunities to strengthen the partnership between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa.”
"It is urgent that Congress enact an early and long-term renewal of AGOA. Timely action is vital to create a predictable environment to support responsible U.S.—African trade and investment partnerships as the apparel and footwear industry continues to diversify sourcing out of China. Thanks to Senators Coons and Scott, and other signatories to this important letter, for their leadership and advocacy on AGOA," said Stephen Lamar, President and CEO of American Apparel & Footwear Association.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act was established by Congress in 2000 and most recently reauthorized in 2015. The program provides tariff-free access to the U.S. market for exports of goods from as many as 49 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
Eligibility depends on favorable annual reviews of a country’s trade and investment policy, governance, worker rights, human rights, and other conditions. Currently, 35 beneficiaries are eligible. Total U.S. imports from AGOA-eligible countries in 2022 totaled $31 billion, of which $9.4 billion was covered by AGOA.
In addition to Senators Coons and Scott, the letter is signed by Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Rev. Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), John Kennedy (R-La.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.).