BUSA calls for extension of AGOA beyond 2015
The extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) beyond 2015 would greatly benefit the South African economy and would further enhance trade relations with the US, Business Unity South Africa (Busa) said this week.
Busa will lead a business delegation from the automotive, agricultural and clothing sectors to Zambia next week for the tenth Agoa summit. Many African countries are expected to call for the scheme to roll over.
Agoa currently offers preferential market access on 7 000 African product lines.
In 2010, the US exported goods and services worth $17,1-billion to Africa, while its imports from the region were $64,3-billion – steady growth from exports of $5,9-billion and imports of $23,4-billion prior to the implementation of the Act in 2000.
The US continues to regard Agoa as the “centrepiece” of its African trade and investment policy and President Barack Obama’s administration is seeking to extend the Act beyond its 2015 expiration date to 2025.
South African business agreed that Agoa had played a major role in stimulating exports to the US, consolidating high-tech industry in South Africa and creating local supply chains.
Since 2000 when Agoa came into force, automotive exports to the US increased by 850%, while investment into the South African motor industry by major US manufacturers increased 317%.
South Africa’s poorest province, the Eastern Cape is a major beneficiary of Agoa-related investment, with automotive manufacturing dominating the region’s industrial output. The agricultural sector also confirmed that its exports to the US have increased markedly since 2000.
“It is therefore essential for government and business to work together to seek for a long-term extension of Agoa,” said Busa.
There is a broad acceptance that Africa’s underdeveloped trade-supporting infrastructure – from roads and rail through to ports and communication networks – is continuing to limit uptake.
Speaking ahead of the gathering, US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) director Leocadia Zak indicated that the agency is prioritising programmes designed to address infrastructure deficits.
She said that the USTDA would use the upcoming forum to create an awareness of its three key priorities for the region. These include building the infrastructure for trade, especially clean energy, logistics networks and broadband networks; matching US technologies to Africa’s infrastructure programmes; and developing sustainable business partnerships.
Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on AGOA.info
Click here to view a sector profile of South Africa's bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.
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