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Zambia: Misplaced Excitement over AGOA?

Published date:
Monday, 19 January 2004

Zambia is hoping to see a significant increase in its exports to the United States under the US African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Under AGOA, which was signed into law on 18 May 2000, eligible countries are allowed tariff preferences when exporting to US markets by expanding duty-free benefits to a range of products, from agricultural goods to textiles. It also offers African nations incentives to open up their economies.

Zambia was informed last week that it had passed the AGOA annual review and would continue to benefit from tariff preferences.

The chief economist for foreign trade in the Department of commerce, Peggy Mlewa, told IRIN on Monday that Zambia's agricultural produce exports could expand considerably. Zambia was currently exporting snow peas to the US, but awaiting clearance for other agro-products such as baby corn, courgettes and carrots.

"It takes 12 to 18 months to clear one product, so we are trying to expedite that process," she explained.

"For textiles like yarn, the amount exported through [third party country] Botswana was about US $825,000, and through Mauritius was about US $5.8 million. While yarn exported through South Africa amounted to about US $1.2 million between December 2001 to November 2002," Mlewa commented.

"There's also potential for us to export handmade crafts, as last year Zambia qualified under Category 9, which includes handmade fabrics and looms ... and the like. But for some of these products, we need to identify who are the people in that sector and group them together to organise a meaningful supply as, while there have been a few crafts going into the US, [it has been] on a small scale," said Mlewa.

Figures obtained in August last year showed that exports from Zambia to the US were significant, she added.

Although Mlewa could not give figures for exports last year, revenue from exports to the US "went up a little bit in 2003. There was a trial run for supplying hospital scrubs to a company in Atlanta, Georgia, for about US $12,000, and there are others in the pipeline."

She said Zambia had enjoyed AGOA status since 2001.

Latest AGOA Trade Data on

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


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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