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AGOA boosts SA-US trade

Published date:
Wednesday, 29 August 2012

South African exports to the United States increased from US3.5 billion in 2001 to US5 billion to 2011 under the US's AGOA legislation, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Wednesday.

The US's African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), incorporating the US Generalised System of Preferences (GSP), accorded duty free treatment to the US market for around 5200 products from eligible countries in sub-Saharan Africa, he said in written reply to a parliamentary question.

Around 43% of South African exports to the US entered under the AGOA/GSP programmes.

This treatment had helped to enhance South African exports to the US and, in so doing, had helped to support the development of the South African economy, notably in manufacturing.

Davies said the sectors that had benefited most under this programme had been vehicles (accounting for 42 percent of total exports), iron and steel (22 percent), chemicals (12 percent), and beverages (two percent).

Most South African exports under AGOA were manufactured products. Moreover, the overall contribution of AGOA to total South African manufacturing GDP and employment in 2010 had been estimated at 2.78 percent and 11 percent respectively.

The South African government took advantage of the recent visit by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to reiterate its view that the US administration work to ensure there was an early announcement of the extension of AGOA beyond the deadline of 2015.

"We argued that in the interest of South Africa, the US, and the Southern African region that the programme retain its current architecture and that an early announcement would avoid the uncertainty that could undermine the confidence of exporters and investors who take advantage of AGOA," he said.

The South African government had identified a range of products that could be exported to the US.

US food safety standards had restricted exports of, for example, sub-tropical fruits, including litchis, avocados, and mangoes.

"We are working with the US government to address these non-tariff barriers. Other products are currently excluded from AGOA."

These included canned apricots, which faced duties of 29.8 percent, canned peaches (17 percent), and electrolytic manganese metal powder (14 percent duty).

In these cases, the South African government had worked with industry to expand the AGOA product coverage to include these products, Davies said.

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

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 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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