TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

US Senator Lugar Applauds Passage of African Trade Bill

Friday, 25 June 2004

Source: United States Congress (Washington, DC)

.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Dick Lugar applauded unanimous Senate passage of the third installment of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA III).

"The AGOA laws have strengthened trade ties between the United States and African nations," Lugar said. "The experience of AGOA has taught us valuable lessons about the path to enhanced investment and economic development. Passage of AGOA III enables us to build upon the initial success begun under the original AGOA legislation."

In an effort to encourage timely passage, Lugar introduced S. 1900, the third installment of the AGOA legislation, in November of last year. S.1900 extends the third country fabric provision, which expires in September, until 2008 and extends overall AGOA benefits until 2015 while providing new benefits that include technical assistance, investment incentives, and links in the fields of transportation and infrastructure. Last night, the Senate passed the House version of the bill, H.R. 4103.

"This bill recognizes the enormous potential for economic growth and development in sub-Saharan Africa. It embraces the vast diversity of people, cultures, economies, and potential among forty-eight countries and nearly 700 million people," Lugar said.

Lugar added, "A stable and prosperous Africa will be better equipped to cooperate on a range of shared problems, including weapons proliferation, terrorism, narcotics, and contagious diseases."

Lugar has met at length with the African Diplomatic Corps regarding the importance of the AGOA III legislation and the importance of building on the progress accomplished by the legislation so far. The Diplomatic Corps expressed their gratitude to Lugar on his leadership on AGOA since its inception and his efforts to ensure that AGOA receives timely renewal.

In an effort to generate support for S.1900, Lugar sent out Dear Colleague letters highlighting the benefits of and seeking co-sponsors for the legislation. He also held a reception featuring Bono, the lead singer of U2 and long time crusader for aid and trade to the African subcontinent. Key advocates of AGOA from the House were present. Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and Ranking Member Max Baucus joined in expressing support for the AGOA III legislation.