TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Wider US Growth Bill Good News for Exports

Monday, 01 December 2003

Source: Business Report

The African Growth and Opportunity Act III (Agoa III) was introduced into the US senate and house of representatives late last week, bringing it closer to be signed into law and ensuring long-term trade benefits for South African companies.

If passed, the amendments to the partnership with more than 35 sub-Saharan countries, originally signed into law by former president Bill Clinton in 2000, will extend the deadline for preferential trade benefits from 2008 until at least 2015.

Agoa's favourable trade benefits were extended in Agoa II last year. Earlier this year, US President George W Bush announced that the programme should be extended.

The bill, which has wide support, aims to build and broaden Agoa's benefits so that sectors not yet incorporated, particularly agriculture and value-added agricultural products, can participate in the US market.

The US and European Union have come under huge pressure from developing nations to level the agricultural playing fields, as government subsidies in these nations skew the markets, making it virtually impossible for emerging countries to compete.

In addition to extending the benefits of Agoa until 2015, Agoa III enhancements in both the senate and house of representatives versions will allow the poorest Agoa-eligible countries to continue using third-country fabric for duty-free apparel exports to the US for a further four years.

A significant amount of technical assistance will also be provided to African farmers so that they can meet strict US sanitary requirements.

The amendments also aim to reduce the challenges and barriers African farmers face when trying to export their goods to the US.

In terms of the bill, initiatives will also be developed to help Africa build the capacity and infrastructure for transportation, energy, telecommunications and water necessary to increase bilateral trade.

An initial aim of Agoa, this would dovetail with New Partnership for Africa's Development initiatives to improve infrastructure, trade and economic development on the continent.

For more on AGOA click here .

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.