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Export Processing Zones Increase Kenya's Apparel Exports under AGOA

Published date:
Thursday, 20 November 2003

"Figure for first nine months of 2003 already exceed last year's total", says envoy.

SOUTH African exports under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), which grants preferential access to the US markets for some African goods, are up sharply, despite overall exports dropping 4,4% in 2002.

Gillian Milovanovic, the charge d'affaires at the US embassy, said total exports from SA under Agoa for the first nine months of this year already exceeded the total figure recorded last year.

Milovanovic said "many South African producers had adapted quickly to make the most of the opportunity and had vastly increased their exports to the US".

She was speaking at the SA & USA: Building Business Partnerships conference in Johannesburg.

Transport equipment exported under Agoa was at $588m for the first nine months this year compared to $615m for last year. Exports in this sector were up 24,3% on the corresponding nine-month period.

This upward trend was mirrored in the mineral and metals sector, which showed a 20% rise for the first nine months when compared to the corresponding period. Chemicals, agriculture and textiles exported under Agoa have also grown.

Chemical exports were up 29% for the first nine months, continuing its growth from the $126m exported in 2001 to $134m last year.

The envoy said it was remarkable that Agoa exports had increased, despite a drop in exports from SA to the US in 2002. That decrease was related to a decline in platinum exports, which do not have preferential access under Agoa.

She said the fall in total exports could be attributed to the slowdown in the US economy and the appreciation of the rand.

Although Nigeria exported more goods under Agoa than SA, Milovanovic pointed out that SA exported a wider range of goods, as the bulk of Nigeria's products were petroleum-related.

She said the transport equipment sector was one of the quickest to take advantage of Agoa. Back in 2000, before Agoa was enacted, the US only imported $181m of transport equipment. Since then it has risen about 240% to R615m in 2002.

Milovanovic said Agoa was part off her country's commitment to both SA and Africa.

She said this commitment could be seen in US President George Bush's state of the union address, where he gave attention to Africa and the "scourge of AIDS".

Bush pledged $15bn to fighting AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean over the next five years.

The disease was also high on the agenda when he met with President Thabo Mbeki in July.

Besides the fight against AIDS, Milovanovic said the US was also committed to working with Africa to tackling poverty and promoting economic development.

One of the ways the US wanted to foster development in Africa was through a free trade agreement it was negotiating with the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu).

Victor Mashabela, director for the Americas at the trade and industry department, said negotiations around the agreement were still at an early stage.

Although they still had some way to go, Mashabela said, it looked like Sacu would have to fight hard for protection measures.

He said there needed to be a "special mechanism" to protect the smaller economies in the union, as they did not come to the negotiation on an equal footing.

The department director said that the free trade agreement would "have to be acceptable to Swaziland and Lesotho" and not just be acceptable to SA.

Latest AGOA Trade Data on

Click here to view a sector profile of South Africa’s bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated into total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

For more about AGOA click here .

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include:

  • All Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Overview

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.

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