TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

SA's ambassador Rasool expresses hope US will retain trade-preference law

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Source: Business Day (South Africa)

The South African ambassador to the US, Ebrahim Rasool , says there is every reason for the US to continue extending trade preferences to African countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act, known as Agoa.

Mr Rasool was on hand to welcome the ship Sea Phoenix at the Holt Marine Terminals in Gloucester City, New Jersey, on Tuesday afternoon when it unloaded a large shipment of South African citrus.

SA’s Western Cape Citrus Producers Forum is certified under Agoa to export citrus to the US. This week’s shipment consisted of 24000 cartons of oranges and clementines, bound for US supermarkets.

The forum consists of about 350 growers from an area two hours northwest of Cape Town, and also in the Northern Cape near Kimberley. They export to the US from June to October, when citrus from California and Florida is unavailable.

Mr Rasool said the citrus industry was a vital source of employment in SA, and this particular shipment was evidence of the benefit of Agoa for both countries.

"The arrival of this package of 2,5-million cartons is nothing to be scoffed at. This shipment is one of 11 and it is having a major impact on the US that cannot be denied. This represents the manner in which this deal can lift people out of poverty."

Agoa , which came into being in May 2000, offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue opening up their economies and building free markets, but it comes up for review in four years’ time.

Mr Rasool said the act had helped underpin the emergence of a new middle class of consumers in Africa, one that is 300-million strong. In turn, this had spurred demand for American goods and services.

"As we move towards 2015 and the US looks at whether or not to continue Agoa, we are making the case for showing how Agoa is an advantage to the US too," he said.

"Fifty percent of Agoa returns to the US in the form of Africans being able to purchase goods from the US. Rather than have a narrow view that the free trade agreement benefits everyone else but the US, we want to show how it is mutually beneficial to American and African interests."

Mr Rasool cited another example to highlight this. " Recently, Ex-Im Bank (the Export-Import Bank of the US) approved a loan guarantee in excess of $100m as part of a sale. This ensured that some 600 employees at GE Transportation facilities in Pennsylvania and its suppliers around the country are being supported," he explained.



“ 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.


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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