Agoa.info - African Growth and Opportunity Act
TRALAC - Trade Law Centre
You are here: Home/News/Article/AGOA needs at least 10-year extension, AU, ministers, say

AGOA needs at least 10-year extension, AU, ministers, say

AGOA needs at least 10-year extension, AU, ministers, say
Published date:
Thursday, 02 November 2023

Africa wants the US Congress to renew its flagship trade programme for the continent for at least 10 years, the African Union’s top trade official said on Thursday, adding that any modifications to the initiative should only be considered later.

Speaking at the start of three days of meetings of African trade ministers and US officials, AU Trade Commissioner Albert Muchanga also said the United States will not be granted tariff free access to a new African free trade area.

First launched in 2000, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) grants exports from qualifying African countries duty free access to the United States – the world’s largest consumer market. It is due to expire in September 2025, and discussions are currently underway for its possible renewal.

“(An extension of) 10 to 20 years is very critical to the investment community. Anything lower than that would generate uncertainty,” Muchanga told the ministers, who gathered in Johannesburg to form a common position on the future of the programme.

The African ministers are due to meet with US officials, including US Trade Representative Katherine Tai, on Friday and Saturday.

US lawmakers and the Biden administration have voiced support for renewing Agoa, which saw over $10 billion worth of African exports enter the United States duty free last year.

However, there is debate in Washington over whether the initiative needs updating.

Constance Hamilton, the Biden administration’s top trade official for Africa, said last week that Congress should consider changes that would “make the programme more impactful”.

African governments and some US industry groups warn that attempting to modify Agoa as part of the renewal process could delay its reauthorisation.

“If there are any enhancements to be made, those should be done after the extension,” Muchanga said.

Agoa’s duty free provisions are currently one-sided. US exports to African markets remain subject to national tariffs. Some US lawmakers have in the past suggested the programme should be made more reciprocal.

Africa is in the process of setting up a new continent-wide free trade area, known as the AfCFTA, that aims to bring together 1.3 billion people in a $3.4 trillion economic bloc. Once fully implemented it will be the largest free trade area since the establishment of the World Trade Organization.

Muchanga told the ministers that many of the US officials and lawmakers he had met to discuss Agoa’s renewal had assumed US exports would be granted duty free entrance to the AfCFTA.

“I’ve told them very, very frankly that that is not possible,” he said. “If they try to export goods from the United States of America into Africa, they are going to meet national tariffs.”

The Biden administration said on October 30 it intended to end the participation of Gabon, Niger, Uganda and the Central African Republic in Agoa over governance and rights failings.

Read related news articles

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

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. 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 senators - Dick Durbin, Michael Bennet, Chris van Hollen, Todd Young and Mike...

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

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

Exploring synergies between AGOA and AfCFTA: The case for African exports

Africa is often characterised as a continent poised for economic growth and development. Often, prosperity and development in Africa can be linked back to exports and the benefits that they generate. This brings to the forefront the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and its role in opening American markets to 35 African countries, as well as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which aims to increase socio-economic...

09 November 2023

African and US trade unions call for decent work in trade and economic cooperation

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum took place in Johannesburg, South Africa, 2-4 November, to strategize ways to strengthen an inclusive trading partnership between the US and 35 eligible African countries.  AGOA is a US law which was signed in 2000 aimed at creating duty free access for eligible African countries to the US markets. Eligibility criteria includes adopting market-based economies, the rule of law, political...

09 November 2023

US Senator Chris Coons proposes AGOA extension by 16 years, immediate review of SA’s AGOA eligibility

Powerful US Democratic Party Senator Chris Coons is circulating a discussion draft of a Bill to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) for 16 years that would also require an immediate “out-of-cycle” review of South Africa’s eligibility for Agoa. That could lead to South Africa being removed next year from the programme, which has provided considerable benefits to SA exporters to the US of cars, fruits and wine, in...

07 November 2023

You are here: Home/News/Article/AGOA needs at least 10-year extension, AU, ministers, say