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Zambia's AGOA exports soar

Published date:
Friday, 18 May 2012

Zambia’s export to the United States of America (USA) under the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) last year rose to US$47.3 million from $26.9 million registered in 2010.

But Commerce, Trade and Industry Minister Robert Sichinga (right) said the trade figures between the two countries were still low.

Mr Sichinga said while Zambia’s exports to USA were growing, the figures remained far below the country’s import from USA.

He said for example, last year, exports to the USA from Zambia stood at a mere $47.3 million, while imports were at $129 million.

Mr Sichinga said this in Lusaka during the preview of the AGOA Forum 2012 and Ministerial Trade and Investment Mission to the USA.

“These are not the desirable figures that a developing country would want to have with a big economy such as the USA,” he said.

In 2010, Zambia’s total trade value (imports and exports) with the USA was at $86 million and Zambia was USA’s 164th largest trade partner.

Mr Sichinga said it was sad to note that 12 years after the enactment of the AGOA, Zambia had still not been able to use it to expand or diversify its exports to that yawning market.

He noted with concern that exports from Zambia continued to be dominated by products from the extractive sector.

“US exports to Zambia have risen steadily over the last several years but remain linked largely to inputs and machinery related to the extractive sector,” he said.

Mr Sichinga said Zambia had indirectly benefited from AGOA through the export of Zambian products such as cotton yarn and chilli peppers to South Africa, which manufacturers there had used as components in products exported to United States under AGOA.

He said Zambia’s gain from AGOA would be much greater if ways could be found to transform the inputs into finished products in Zambia.

Mr Sichinga said Zambia was committed to ensuring that it moved away from being a mere producer and supplier of raw materials to producers of value-added finished products.

The 11th AGOA session is scheduled to be held from June 14-15, 2012 in Washington DC where Zambia, the current chair is expected to hand over the position to Ethiopia.

Speaking at the same function, the American Chamber of Commerce in Zambia president Greg Marchand said Mr Sichinga was expected to lead a trade and investment mission to six cities in the USA namely, Los Angeles, Washington, Cincinnati, Houston, Atlanta and Boston.

The purpose of the mission would be to strengthen the trade and investment relationship between the USA and Zambia.

The mission would, therefore, seek to increase Foreign Direct Investments (FDI), trade, skills transfer and forge partnership through joint venture between the two countries.

Zambia Association of Manufactures (ZAM) vice-president Bright Chunga said the association would develop links with sector representatives in the US who could serve as conduits to the business houses in Zambia.

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

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 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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