- African Growth and Opportunity Act
TRALAC - Trade Law Centre
You are here: Home/News/Article/United States Pleased With COMESA

United States Pleased With COMESA

Published date:
Friday, 03 June 2005

The United States Assistant Trade Representative for Africa, Florizelle Liser, has said that her country is pleased with COMESA work.

"What COMESA is doing is really important. It is one of the most impressive and best run regional organisations," Liser said, while recognizing the COMESA leadership for its focus determination and vision.

Liser, who deliberated on preferential market access, said that COMESA countries have over 98% duty free access to the USA market because of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). She however, advised the member countries to deal with the constraints such as energy, production facilities, transportation, in order to reap more from AGOA.

"If you can't get into an open door, then it's not worth knocking,"Liser pointed out.

She revealed that 13 out of the 19 COMESA countries are eligible for AGOA and over US $ 2.3 billion, which is about 200% of 2003 exports realised in 2004.

She disclosed that non-oil exports accounted for 48% of AGOA exports, while diversification in exports such as cereals and beverages from Ethiopia, fruits and nuts from Malawi and, ceramics and pyrethrum from Uganda were also realised on the US market.

Liser also dwelt on the importance of apparels in as far as industrialisation is concerned.

"Apparel has always been the gateway for industrialisation and Africa has the opportunity of an 11 trillion dollar market in the USA," Liser told the delegates.

She noted that because of AGOA, Africa has improved from a 1% market share to 2.7% market share in the US. She also said that Africans are not a threat to the USA market 'because the entire Africa ranks 18th in export of apparels to USA'.

"The percentage might seem small but if you can secure a small portion of the market, the benefits such as creation of employment and development are very evident," Liser counselled adding that: "what needs to be done is to focus on what can be done to improve Africa's competitive advantage."

Liser also noted that for Africa to benefit from AGOA it has to identify particular products where it has higher duty free.

"It would be a mistake for Africa to compete with China in t-shirts because t-shirts are at the lower end of duty free and thus they have a greater advantage," Liser explained.

She also called for enhanced private sector participation and advised the continental stakeholders to exploit AGOA, which she said, was extended to 2015.

Liser reiterated that there was need for more investors from the US in Africa, and 'more partnerships with businesses and better regulatory policies'.

"This is something that is possible. Let us (USA) know what we can continue to do, not just opening the door but letting Africa get through the door,"Liser concluded.

Read related news articles

Zambia: ‘Regional integration vital for growth’

Zambia will continue strengthening its participation in regional economic integration and trade investment platforms because the agenda will promote the country’s industrialisation efforts, a senior Government official has said. Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry permanent secretary Kayula Siame also said there is need for continued private sector sensitisation on the eligibility of the over 6,000 products that are supposed to be...

14 October 2016

COMESA states lack strong industries to spur regional trade - Siame

Zambia commerce permanent secretary Kayula Siame says intra-COMESA trade continues to face challenges despite the available instruments designed to improve integration. And COMESA assistant secretary general Dr Kipyego Cheluget says Zambia is among countries that have not exploited the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Speaking during the official opening of the 32nd meeting of the trade and customs committee in Lusaka, Siame said...

31 August 2016

COMESA: AGOA-US exports swell to $17 billion

Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) exports to America under the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) has amounted to US$17 billion. The exports through the COMESA eligible countries amounted to $17.3 billion by November 2015. COMESA secretary general Sindiso Ngwenya said the United States-COMESA Trade and Investments Framework Agreement (TIFA) provides a more in depth copperation which could collaborate for mutally...

08 February 2016

US urges Zambia to diversify

The US government says the recent slump in copper prices serves as a timely reminder for Zambia to diversify its economy. US Ambassador to Zambia Eric Shultz says serious efforts must be taken to shift the economy to agriculture, tourism and power generation. Speaking when he officiated at the eighth US-COMESA consultative trade meeting, Ambassador Shultz also urged member countries to take advantage of the extended AGOA agreement to...

08 February 2016

COMESA reportedly unhappy with poor trade with US

Africa’s main regional trade bloc, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), on Tuesday expressed concerns over its low share of trade with the United States despite the two sides having signed economic development agreements. The COMESA said it was unfortunate that both of its export and import with the U.S. remain low. The value of trade between the two sides was relatively low despite the establishment of the African...

24 February 2015

Zambia: Government, COMESA act to boost AGOA exports

The Government in collaboration with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) has put in place a committee which will look at ways and means of increasing exports to the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) market in the United States of America(USA). Commerce Trade and Industry Minister Bob Sichinga said there were a number of issues that needed to be addressed such as the Phytosanitary and sanitary measures. Mr Sichinga...

21 May 2014

East Africa: Kenya pips Tanzania in AGOA Trade

Tanzania's performance in regards to exporting goods under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has not been satisfactory as compared to countries like Kenya, the government announced last week. However in recent years, the trend has improved. AGOA was introduced by the United States government in 2000 to encourage sub-Saharan countries export products to the American market on a duty/quota free basis. Total trade between Tanzania...

29 April 2013

US Trade Ambassador Marantis begins three-country East Africa visit in Burundi

Today, Deputy U.S. Trade Representative Demetrios Marantis began his three country East Africa visit in Burundi where he met with senior government officials and members of the private sector. Ambassador Marantis met with Second Vice President Gervais Rufyikiri, Commerce Minister Victoire Ndikumana, and other officials who were participating in a conference focused on rooting out corruption in Burundi. The officials discussed the Burundian...

15 October 2012

US government increases funding to COMESA

The US government has increased funding to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Africa's largest trading block, for the 2010/2011 financial year, the Zambia Daily Mail reported on Saturday. President Barack Obama's government has increased the funding from 1.593 million U. S. dollars allocated in the last program to 4 million dollars, according to Daily Mail. COMESA Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya said on Friday when...

20 November 2010

US urged to invest in Africa

Speaking in Washington DC in the US during the ongoing Agoa 2010 Summit, Comesa Secretary General, Sindiso Ngwenya, and the Alliance for Commodity Trade in Eastern and Southern Africa (ACTESA) CEO, Dr Cris Muyunda, made earnest appeals to US investors to invest in Africa. Ngwenya said Africa has potential to produce enough food for internal needs and international trade. The Comesa region brings together 19 member states including, Burundi,...

07 August 2010

Comesa: AGOA should focus on investment

The United States has been challenged to seek ways of increasing investment in Africa to enable the continent take fuller advantage of Africa Growth Opportunity Act. Experts say the levels of savings in Africa as being too low to promote investment, thus the need to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Speaking during the plenary session on ‘Successes, Challenges and Prospects of AGOA’, recently, the Secretary General of the Common...

17 August 2009

You are here: Home/News/Article/United States Pleased With COMESA