TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Experts to Discuss AGOA

Wednesday, 26 February 2003

Source: New Vision (Kampala)

The Uganda Agricultural Economics Association (UAEA) is this afternoon hosting a public seminar on 'Uganda's Response and Challenges to 'Africa Growth and Opportunities Act' (AGOA) at Hotel Africana.

AGOA, is a US trade initiative where selected goods from Sub-Saharan Africa access their market quota and tariff-free.

The seminar will be an opportunity to build on earlier efforts to mobilise production towards the US market.

The necessity to create awareness of the opportunities has been raised by Edith Sempala(pictured), Uganda's Ambassador to the United Nations.

"It is important to raise awareness in Uganda of the Act and its implications. I want to build an AGOA movement in Uganda, so that Ugandans can understand what is at stake, so that they can work hard and know that the benefits are there," she said in a statement.

"We need to find investors and attract them to Uganda. That is my Number one priority,"she added.

After Uganda was officially accredited into the AGOA scheme, the US market has been opened to Ugandan goods ranging from cotton and footwear to fish.

The next step, analysts say, is to convince investors from outside Uganda to put money into businesses that will take advantage of the act.

Dr. Peter Ngategize, acting chairman of UAEA says the seminar will give an opportunity to members of the public to engage in discussion with experts from various sectors of the economy that are engaged in promoting the AGOA program.

Paul H. O'Neill, the US Treasury Secretary while in Uganda last year said : 'The United States has created "AGOA," to open U.S. markets to exports from sub-Saharan Africa. AGOA provides duty-free treatment for African exports to the United States, including preferential treatment for certain products... AGOA will advance export-driven private sector growth.

The main presenter at the Hotel Africana seminar will be Dr. Charles Kwesiga of the AGOA Country Response office while Florence Kata, Executive Director of Uganda Promotion Council and Clive Drew of the USAID IDEA project will be the discussants.

Already Tri-Star Apparel have exported under the AGOA arrangement while Phenix Logistics (U) Ltd and Southern Range Nyanza Textiles both expect to start exporting textiles to the U.S. market very soon.