TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

AGOA 'essential' to South Africa's trade with the US

Thursday, 27 June 2013 Published: | LINDA ENSOR

Source: Financial Mail (South Africa)

South Africa regards the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and its inclusion in the scheme, as vital for its future trade with the US, and will be lobbying hard for a 15-20 year rollover, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said on Wednesday.

Mr Davies said South Africa would be lobbying for the extension both during this week’s visit by US President Barack Obama and in Washington later this year.He said he believed the act, which grants duty free access of specific products from Africa into the US market, had contributed significantly to the balance of the bilateral trade between South Africa and the US, which last year amounted to R122.7bn.

Agoa is due to be discontinued in 2015, and while the US administration supports its extension there is a body of congressmen and senators who are opposed to it and believe South Africa is developed enough to be graduated out of the scheme. Mr Davies said at a media conference on Wednesday that Department of Trade and Industry officials planned to visit Washington later this year to lobby the case for the continuation of the act. "We need to talk to a lot of people," he said.

South Africa believes it would harm regional integration for Agoa to include some African countries and exclude others. Promoting trade and investment with Africa is likely to be a high priority for Mr Obama and his delegation, which will also visit Senegal and Tanzania. Davies said Mr Obama — accompanied by the representatives of US government agencies — would signal to US businesses and the world his confidence that Africa was a centre for global growth and that the US should be doing business with the continent.

Mr Obama would also stress the US had instruments for economic development and investment to assist this growth, and he is expected to deal with what African countries had to do to ensure the extension of Agoa by Congress.

 

 

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