TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Africa: AGOA likely to be renewed before 2015 expiration

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Source: TradeInvest Africa (Cape Town)

The United States congress is likely to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) before its 2015 expiration, though is unlikely to be made permanent.

African trade groups have said that the program's temporary nature discourages long-term investment in the continent.

U.S Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told a forum on US trade with Africa in Washington that the Obama administration's trade and development strategy stressed "fostering regional markets within Africa, boosting trade and aid effectiveness and working with partner governments to promote structural reforms and gradual market liberalization."

Clinton said the (AGOA), a pact that allows Sub-Saharan African countries to export over 6,400 types of goods to the U.S. without paying duties, had not delivered the hoped-for trade expansion.

'Petroleum products still account for the vast majority of exports to the United States and we have not seen the diversification or growth of exports that AGOA was supposed to spur,' said Clinton

Clinton said Sub-Saharan Africa's economy was poised to grow faster than South America, Europe or the United States this year.

'Many of Africa's major challenges - from inadequate infrastructure to political instability to corruption - also present opportunities for market-based solutions, creative partnerships, and responsible government action that could produce a surer foundation for Africa's development,' she said.