TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Business groups call for AGOA expansion

Friday, 21 October 2011

Source: Just

The US Chamber of Commerce and more than a half dozen American Chambers in Africa are urging the US government to take steps to increase exports to the African region.

Among the measures called for are an extension and expansion of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which is currently due to expire in 2015.

Arguing that the US needs to find new markets to sell its goods and services if it is to meet the president's goal of doubling exports over the next five years, the Chambers point out that Africa represents many of the world's most rapidly growing emerging markets.

In a letter sent to members of Congress earlier this week, they urge the US to "develop more effective strategies and mechanisms to promote...commercial engagement in Africa, or risk being left behind."

As well as calling for AGOA to be made permanent, they would like to see enhanced US-Africa investment and trade finance through institutions such as the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the US Export-Import Bank, and the U.S. Trade and Development Agency.

Other suggestions include negotiating free trade agreements with regional economic communities, and promoting aid management to encourage the move from aid to trade.

Signatories to the letter included American Chambers in Nigeria, Ghana , Kenya , South Africa, Tanzania , Uganda, Zambia and the US.

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