TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Gambia: US embassy, entrepreneurs meet on AGOA

Wednesday, 06 October 2010

Source: The Daily Observer (Banjul)

The United States Embassy in Banjul and the West Africa Trade Hub (WATH) yesterday organised a one-day seminar on Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for over 50 small business operators in the country on the opportunities and procedures for exporting goods to the United States markets. The forum was held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel in Kololi.

AGOA, according to officials, since the year 2000 has offered a competitive advantage for African-made products to enter in the US markets and has also given trade preference to countries that are making progress in economic, legal and human rights reform. Under the AGOA, nearly 6, 400 products including apparel, footwear, nuts and cut flowers can be exported from Africa to the US on duty free until 2015, thereby helping to boost sub-Saharan African exports.

Speaking at the occasion, Zack Bailey, the political and economic officer at the US Embassy, thanked the representatives from the Ministry of Trade, Employment and Regional Integration, the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Central Bank of The Gambia for witnessing the forum. He then challenged participants to make best use of the forum noting that it is among series of activities organised by the Embassy in the past.

For his part, Makhtar Thiam, the director of WATH in Dakar, described the forum as very interesting and practical for participants. According to him, the forum is aimed at increasing exports in The Gambia to the US market under AGOA. He explained that the forum will provide a platform for discussion on challenges faced by business operators, thereby mapping out ways to address them.

Among the challenges, he went on, are how to improve the productivity capacity and meeting quality requirement to enter the US market, particularly international norms and diversification of products and markets. Thiam then expressed hope that at the end of the forum, participants will be able to find the right way to success.

Officially declaring the forum open, Cindy Cregg, Charge de Affaires at the US Embassy, said that the forum is part of her office's ongoing efforts to educate and motivate the Gambian private sector to access the huge market opportunities that exist in the United States. She reminded participants that AGOA was passed by the US Congress in May 2000, as a new approach to US trade and investment policy towards Africa.

She added that AGOA also promotes increased trade and economic cooperation between the United States and eligible Sub-Saharan countries as well as political and economic reform in the eligible African countries. "AGOA provides Sub-Saharan countries the possibility of exporting a wide-range of products to America, both duty-free and quota-free and it covers an expanded list of more than 6, 000 products from Africa, including fish and fish products, textiles, apparel, handicrafts and footwear," she stated.

"The Gambia, being eligible of AGOA since 2002, is also eligible for the Textile Visa, which is an additional requirement governing the export of textile and apparel under AGOA," she noted. She recalled that in May this year, Gambian small business operators attended the Atlanta Textile and Sewn Products Show organised by the US Embassy.She then expressed hope that by the end of the forum, participants will be able to improve the quality of their products with sufficient values added in order to penetrate the US market.



“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on AGOA.info


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


Other regularly updated trade statistics on AGOA.info 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.