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Mozambique: Companies not taking enough advantage of AGOA

Published date:
Thursday, 19 June 2008

Mozambican businesses are still not taking advantage of the facilities to enter the American market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), according to the US charge d'affaires in Maputo, Todd Chapman.

AGOA, which was signed into American law in 2000, provides eligible African countries with more liberal terms of access to the US market than enjoyed by any other countries, except those with which the US has free trade agreements.

Eight years have passed, and Mozambique is still only exporting two of its traditional exports, prawns and cashew nuts, to the US, and Chapman was convinced that many other opportunities exist.

He told AIM that AGOA was a challenge to Mozambique's business class, who needed to identify what they could offer to the American market.

"To be frank, Mozambique is not making use of the facilities created under AGOA", said Chapman. "It's a challenge for the private sector to exploit these opportunities. Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland and several other countries are making use of AGOA".

He suggested that Mozambican businesses could try exporting cloth to the US, thus following in the footsteps of South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia, who had all sold cloth on the American market.

But the Confederation of Mozambican Business Associations (CTA) takes a defeatist view of the issue, arguing that Mozambican companies are unable to make use of AGOA because of quality and certification problems.

"It's not a matter of not taking advantage of these facilities", CTA deputy chairperson Rogerio Manuel told AIM. "There are constraints which we believe we will overcome in the medium term, linked to the quality of products, certification, which leaves a great deal to be desired, and a great lack of business capacity to invest so as to make use of these facilities".

AGOA was written in order to allow countries of sub-Saharan Africa to export a wide range of goods to the US free of duty. 38 African countries are eligible. Among the few countries not eligible are Sudan, Zimbabwe, Eritrea, Somalia and Equatorial Guinea.

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of Mozambique’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: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-Beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • 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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