- African Growth and Opportunity Act
TRALAC - Trade Law Centre
You are here: Home/News/Article/South Africa: Car exporters reassured on Agoa

South Africa: Car exporters reassured on Agoa

South Africa: Car exporters reassured on Agoa
BMW South Africa's Guy Kilfoil (left)
Published date:
Thursday, 31 January 2013
Business Day (South Africa)

Tariff-free car exports from South Africa to the US were likely to continue unimpeded under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), according to an official from the office of the US trade representative.

Due to the volume of cars and components exported from South Africa to the US, South Africa’s continuation within Agoa is vital to certain elements in the local industry.

Agoa permits tariff-free access from eligible African countries into the US market for a large number of products. There are constant concerns that South Africa’s eligibility may be adjusted in future extensions of Agoa due to the size and diversity of its economy in relation to the rest of the countries falling under the scheme.

An official from the office of the US trade representative said: "Our team has looked into this and have no reason to believe there are US auto industry concerns related to South African autos being imported under Agoa.

"We haven’t heard of any lobby to exclude South African car imports to the USA from extensions of Agoa or otherwise."

Fears about South Africa’s continued participation in Agoa were raised last year ahead of a visit to South Africa by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Both Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies and Department of Trade and Industry director-general Lionel October expressed concern that, according to Mr October in August last year, "they think we’re too developed".

A further concern, according to Prof Peter Draper of the South African Institute of International Affairs, was South Africa’s foreign policy outlook. He said the view that South Africa was "anti-US and pro-China" was "gaining currency".

Short-term fears about the future of Agoa and South Africa’s participation in it were dispelled, however, when the US Congress voted to renew the agreement until September 2015 longer-term, concerns lingered.

However, two congressional staffers said the agreement was likely to be renewed once it expires in 2015, but that the terms under which this will be done would not be decided until closer to the time.

BMW South Africa spokesman Guy Kilfoil described the comments as "great news".

"It makes sense, given the relatively low volume of imports compared with the size of the US market," Mr Kilfoil said.

BMW exports its 3-Series model to the US.

"We’ve always run our business with Agoa in mind, and we’re glad it’s going to continue," Mr Kilfoil said.



Read related news articles

South Africa walks a tightrope on US relations

South Africa has been conducting a high-wire act in its relations with the United States (US). It is maintaining friendships with Washington’s enemies like Russia, Iran and China while trying to avoid disrupting its economic relations with America. Tensions came closer than ever to breaking point this month as the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Foreign Affairs passed the US-South Africa Bilateral Relations...

28 March 2024

Remarks by Deputy Treasury Secretary Adeyemo on the US-South Africa economic relationship

As Prepared for Delivery in Johannesburg, South Africa Thank you for the warm welcome. I want to express my gratitude to Consul General Spera and the American Chamber of Commerce for hosting me. I am honored to be joined today by South African Entrepreneurs that are building companies to unlock the economic potential of their country.  I owe my own presence here today to the inspiration I drew from South Africa. In the middle of the...

13 March 2024

South African president Ramaphosa meets with US congressional delegation

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa today, 21 February 2024, received for a visit from a bipartisan congressional delegation from the United States of America, in Tuynhuys, Cape Town. The delegation is visiting South Africa at the invitation of the Aspen Institute. The President and the US congressional delegation discussed the importance of the relationship between South Africa and the US, which manifests in strong economic,...

21 February 2024

US congress receives Bill to review South Africa relations

A bill has been submitted to the United States congress calling for a full review of the country’s bilateral relationship with South Africa following the International Court of Justice ruling that found it plausible that Israel has committed acts of genocide against Gaza. The bipartisan bill which was introduced by US Republican congressman John James and Democratic Party congressman Jared Moskowitz this week could threaten South...

09 February 2024

Fitch research unit expects better AGOA deal for South Africa

Fitch’s research arm, BMI, believes SA has done enough to get improved trade terms under the African Growth & Opportunity Act (Agoa), which it expects to be extended and modified before its expiry in September 2025. But it warns that the deal might be stillborn if Donald Trump is elected US president. The research think-tank said in a note it assigns a 65% probability that Agoa will not only be renewed but modified to the benefit of...

09 January 2024

South Africa: BLSA CEO calls for more companies to leverage AGOA opportunities

Many more South African companies could benefit from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which gives eligible countries access to US markets free of tariff barriers, business organisation BusinessLeadership South Africa (BLSA) CEO Busi Mavuso writes in her weekly newsletter. Apart from mainstream formal sector businesses, there are opportunities to enable more entrepreneurs, including women-led...

20 November 2023

US ambassador: AGOA is an opportunity to deepen ties between the US and South Africa

President Joe Biden last December at the US-Africa Leaders Summit affirmed that the US will elevate its relationship with Africa. The future is Africa. One example is its youthful population: the median age on the continent is 19. By 2050, one in four people in the world will be in Africa. The US wants them to be healthy and wealthy. What happens in Africa will affect the rest of the globe — and we want to work together to ensure it is...

09 November 2023

US Senator Chris Coons proposes AGOA extension by 16 years, immediate review of SA’s AGOA eligibility

Powerful US Democratic Party Senator Chris Coons is circulating a discussion draft of a Bill to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) for 16 years that would also require an immediate “out-of-cycle” review of South Africa’s eligibility for Agoa. That could lead to South Africa being removed next year from the programme, which has provided considerable benefits to SA exporters to the US of cars, fruits and wine, in...

07 November 2023

AGOA benefits extend beyond trade [incl. VIDEO of Friday's opening session]

Economies in Sub-Saharan countries stand to benefit far more from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) than notable trade statistics, says President Cyril Ramaphosa. “AGOA enhances the diversification of African economies, enabling them to export value-added products. By enabling African countries to have preferential access to the US market, this opportunity incentivises African countries to develop and export value-added goods...

06 November 2023

South Africa pins its hopes on an early 2024 US Congress renewal of AGOA

South Africa’s government is hoping that the process to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) by the US Congress will be concluded by early 2024, ensuring that more than 20 African countries continue to have duty-free access to the world’s largest economy.   This is the first time that the South African government has given a timeline for when it hopes the US Congress might extend Agoa, which has been renewed twice...

05 November 2023

SA trade minister Patel expresses confidence at media briefing about South Africa’s continued inclusion in AGOA

Ahead of South Africa hosting the US-AfricaTrade and Economic Cooperation Forum – also called the AGOA Forum – from November 2 to 4, Trade, Industry and Competition Minister Ebrahim Patel on October 26 briefed the media on the state of readiness for the forum, expressing confidence that the South African government’s relations with the US were strong. Various South African stakeholders have been motivating for...

26 October 2023

You are here: Home/News/Article/South Africa: Car exporters reassured on Agoa