TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Zambia: 'AGOA flaws redeemable'

Friday, 22 April 2011

Source: Times of Zambia

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) structure has flaws which eligible African countries intend to address so that the continent gets more benefits, Commerce, Trade and Industries Minister Felix Mutati has said

Mr Mutati, who is 2011 AGOA forum chairperson said African countries had decided to come together to put across their grievances.

He said some of the bottlenecks surrounding the AGOA were presented to the USA Congress during the meeting last week in the US.

He said African countries would next month meet in Lusaka to come up with a united stand on the issues needing refining in the AGOA.

Mr Mutati said past experiences had shown that AGOA had benefitted only four oil African producing countries to well over 96 per cent of the trade value between the continent and the USA.

The minister said there was also a challenge that surrounded the textile industry whose treaty with AGOA ends next year as it threatened among other issues employment levels in countries like Kenya and Lesotho.

"In 2005 when the textile regime was changed, there was a loss of revenue of up to 60 per cent and employment loss of up to 50 per cent in African countries and we do not want that to happen again.

"This current regime runs up to 2015 and a cut would mean a sudden cut of as many as 60 000 jobs in Lesotho and 40 000 jobs in Kenya. So with such issues we went to further engage the US Congress to come up with a good AGOA to benefit the whole of Africa," Mr Mutati said after touring the AGOA secretariat at Mulungushi International Conference Centre.

The current Act ends in 2015 and Africa countries have been calling for an extension.

The African countries ministers' meeting would be held in Lusaka on May 14 and 15.

He said that purpose for the Lusaka pre-AGOA meeting was for the continent to come up with one voice unlike previously when each country presented its own needs a day before the conference.

Mutati said if an extension was needed, it must not be indefinite because apart from the fact that African countries would not forever be poor, there was also need to address the imbalance on who benefits from AGOA.

He said from the 37 members states of AGOA, just four countries were reaping from the US$89 billion to as high as 96 per cent while the other 33 nations contributing about three per cent.

"Zambia, like most African countries, has agriculture products as its main export to the USA but agriculture counts for less than one per cent of exports into the US market.

"So, we are going to tell the US delegation that we want performance benchmarks to AGOA like raising agriculture from the current under one per cent to 10 per cent in a given time. We wish that AGOA, like originally intended helps Africa and not a few countries," he said.



“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on AGOA.info


Click here to view a sector profile of Zambia'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.




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