- African Growth and Opportunity Act
TRALAC - Trade Law Centre
You are here: Home/News/Article/Angola Added To List of AGOA Countries

Angola Added To List of AGOA Countries

Published date:
Friday, 19 December 2003

While market access is the drumbeat of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the capacity to trade competitively in the U.S. and global marketplace is really the key to making this trade legislation work for Africa, says Stephen Lande, president of Manchester Trade Ltd.

In a December 8 address to the 2003 Private Sector Session of the Third AGOA Forum, Lande, an international trade adviser said, "We spend so much time...talking about market access opportunities...but to put it very simply, unless you have world class, competitive production that can take advantage of these opportunities, it (access) will come to naught."

As a way to ramp-up and become globally competitive, Lande promoted the importance of regional trade communities. It is through regional trade communities and agreements that developing nations can work their way up to trade competitively in the U.S. and global marketplace, he said.

"You don't go simply from a small market...into the world market," he counseled his audience of African ministers, ambassadors, executives and trade specialists who were gathered in Washington. "You need an intermediate step and that is provided by regional economic communities because they group countries together. Such an arrangement," he said, "gives countries, entrepreneurs and workers the opportunity to begin to approach the economies of scale that are necessary for export."

If you are going to look at AGOA, he said, you have to view it in the context of the World Trade Organization and free trade agreements (FTA) operating in the context of the regional economic communities.

Lande went on to explain the importance of understanding the relationship between the American business community and the United States government and how they often interact in the formulation of U.S. trade policy.

U.S. business and its trade groups are largely organized into three categories, he said: global, sectoral and geographic.

"By far the most important business organizations in terms of the overall formulation of U.S. trade policy are the global organizations" he said, which include the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), the National Foreign Trade Council, the Emergency Committee for American Trade (ECAT), the Business Roundtable and the U.S. Council for International Business.

"These are the groups (along with the Farm Bureau on agricultural topics) that basically set the pattern for the generic U.S. policy approaches -- whether they are toward the regional agreements...the bilateral free trade agreements or the WTO," he said.

A second group organized by trade sector, he explained, also exerts influence in the policy formulation process. Sectoral groups such as the American Textile Institute, National Cotton Council and the American Iron and Steel Institute are "usually considered to be against free trade initiatives," he said, fearing free trade will adversely impact their trade sector.

The last group, Lande identified as "geographic" such as the Caribbean Central American Action group and the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), which both lobby for expanded private sector trade and investment flows between their respective regions and the United States. Also functioning in this "geographic" area are ad-hoc groups, he said, such as the AGOA III Coalition run by former assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa Rosa Whitaker, which is now seeking a further expansion of the historic AGOA trade legislation.

"Each issue that is under consideration in the United States, whether it be multilateral, bilateral or preferential level usually has various groups that begin to play a role" in the formulation of U.S. trade policy, he explained. As an example, he said, the primary lobbying for AGOA III is being done by the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) and the AGOA III Coalition.

Lande then went on to frankly and realistically assess the importance of AGOA and its link to the U.S. business community.

"It is important to some groups," he acknowledged, speaking of AGOA and its pending expansion and enhancement as AGOA III. "But to the big groups frankly, it is a little punctuation mark, an asterisk.

"If you believe in motherhood, fatherhood, you believe in AGOA, but how much political capital will you use, how many donations will you make in campaigns" to make the expanded AGOA III legislation become a reality? "Not that much," he said, "unless you are a specific group (that urgently needs the legislation) -- that is why the Corporate Council is important."

Lande said besides the obvious role of Congress in the legislative branch passing the AGOA legislation, there are three key areas in the executive branch of U.S. government to focus on in terms of trying to influence and generate AGOA trade policy. The major player, according to Lande, is the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR), which works together with other U.S. departments such as State, Commerce, Labor and Treasury to formulate the government's position on trade issues.

While the USTR does not fit easily into any organizational charts, Lande said, it is important to the White House because it focuses on trade issues. In that regard, he said, political specialists in the White House will assess AGOA and the level of attention it should deserve from the executive branch.

A second official part of the foreign affairs power structure in the White House is the National Security Council, he said, which will offer its assessment.

A third key area is the political wing in the White House, he said. "Every administration has to have a group that assures that it is reelected and that the administration sticks to the rules or whatever its philosophy is. Somebody has to coordinate this" and review AGOA trade legislation from a political perspective.

Lande said five basic factors drive U.S. trade policy: Textiles, agriculture, the continuation of preferences, unfair trade practices called dumping and capacity building.

Capacity building is the most important of the five issues for African and other developing countries, he stressed. "You must have capacity building so that you have the products you can trade." Capacity building is most important, he said, because if you don't have products to export, everything goes out the window.

Lande called on the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to provide greater assistance to developing world countries that are trying to function and prosper under the WTO system.

"I go to WTO meetings," Lande recalled. "The negotiators work very hard. I always see the World Bank and IMF there. They always give a very good speech in the beginning and then I don't see them work very hard because they are not part of the process. They are the people that should be sitting with you now," helping developing countries to prosper under the WTO trade structure.

(The Washington File is a product of the Bureau of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site:

Read related news articles

Angola: USAID seeks to boost Angola's exports to USA

Angolan entrepreneurs will be able to export agricultural products, beverages and others to the United States of America market, through the mediation of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This information was provided today by the Acting Minister Counselor of the US Embassy in Angola, Christopher Hattayer, noting that the United States had been supporting efforts to increase economic growth in Angola since 2021...

04 April 2022

Angola: US Ambassador defends dynamism in using AGOA

Angolan entrepreneurs should continue to make efforts to take greater advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), said last Thursday in Luanda the ambassador of the United States of America (USA) to Angola, Helen La Lime. The diplomat, who was speaking at a press conference held in the framework of Angola's participation in the Second Business Summit USA/Africa, which happened last September 26, in Washington, said that Angola...

07 October 2016

Angola: Exports to US reach over $115 billion

Angola's exports to the United States of America tripled in the 2004/2014 period, reaching Usd 115.39 billion last year. This was disclosed Tuesday in Luanda by the minister of Commerce, Rosa Pacavira, while addressing the seminar on "How to export to the USA and the African Growth and Opportunity Act". According to the official, the increase in exports has partly resulted from the country's joining AGOA established by the US...

14 July 2015

Angola: Ministry of Commerce holds workshop on AGOA

The Ministry of Commerce is holding seminar on the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) on Wednesday in Luanda. This was said on Tuesday in Luanda by the director of the Office of Exchange of the Ministry of Commerce, Bumba Chico. Speaking to Angop, the director said that the event is aimed to inform State institutions and Angolan entrepreneurial sector about the meaning of AGOA and its challenges, as well as attract private, foreign...

21 September 2010

Angola: Trade minister points out new perspectives for Angolan economy

Angolan minister of Trade, Maria Idalina Valente, said in Washington that the global financial crisis has opened new perspectives for diversifying of the country’s economy with a view to face up the emerging challenges. Idalina Valente, who was speaking at the end of the Consultative meeting gathering ministers of Trade, stated that the crisis also opened perspectives to diversifying other export markets. “Exactly, with regard to our...

03 August 2010

Angola: Luanda port development good for trade

USD 350 million is being invested in the Port of Luanda, one of Africa's most congested, in an effort to restructure the harbour and its facilities. This was disclosed at a meeting between port and government officials and a visiting US delegation to Luanda, which included US Assistant Trade Representative for Africa, Florie Liser. In a statement issued to the media after the one-day meeting, Francisco Venancio, Chairman of the Luanda Port...

14 July 2010

United States, Angola hold high-level trade and investment talks

US and Angolan trade and development officials met today to discuss means for strengthening bilateral trade and investment ties. The meeting was the first held under the United States-Angola Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA), which was signed in May 2009. The TIFA provides a high-level forum for advancing cooperation on the full spectrum of trade and investment issues between the United States and Angola. Assistant U.S. Trade...

28 June 2010

Angola close to signing economic deal with US

Angola and the United States are close to signing an agreement that would strengthen commercial ties between the former Cold War foes, Angola's ambassador to the U.S. was quoted saying on Monday. The deal will be signed "shortly" and form the basis of increased trade and economic exchanges between the oil-rich African nation and the world's economic powerhouse, the ambassador Josefina Diakite told state-run news agency ANGOP. "It will be a...

11 June 2007

Angola and US to sign general cooperation accord

A general accord for the expansion of trade relations between Angola and the United States of America (USA) will be signed soon, said Sunday in Luanda, Angolan ambassador, Josefina Pitra Diakité, before leaving for Washington. Speaking to Angop, the head of Angolan diplomatic mission to the USA, said that the accord was not signed earlier on because the two countries' governments decided there was need to mature ideas. However, in view of...

10 June 2007

Angola to Export Agricultural Products to US

Angola's deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dario Daniel Katata, affirmed Thursday in Luanda, that Angola has the conditions to exports, in the next years, to the United States of America some agricultural products. Among the products are cotton and fruits such as banana, orange, melon, water-melon and amongst others. The Angolan deputy Minister was speaking to Angop, on his return from Dakar, Senegal, where since Monday...

21 July 2005

Angola: Private Sector needs to learn more about AGOA

The Angolan ambassador to the USA, Josefina Pitra Diakité, said today, here, that the Angolan businessmen should learn more about the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in order to expand their business and benefit from aid. The diplomat who was speaking at the end of a lecture on business, promoted by the Angola-USA Chamber of Commerce, defended the need for the national private sector to know better the opportunities that AGOA...

06 May 2005

You are here: Home/News/Article/Angola Added To List of AGOA Countries