TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

US urged by Africa's leaders to extend AGOA trade programme

Wednesday, 06 August 2014 Published: | Elvina Nawaguna and Edith Honan

Source: Reuters

African leaders urged the US on Monday to renew a trade benefits programme giving duty-free access to billions of dollars of African exports for 15 years, saying it would help cement trade relations and boost development in sub-Saharan Africa.

President Jacob Zuma, one of nearly 50 African leaders in Washington to attend a three-day summit, said the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) when it expired next year was one of the key issues for the talks.

“Almost 95 percent of South African exports receive preferential treatment under Agoa,” Zuma said at a US Chamber of Commerce event on Monday, joining calls made by the AU for a 15-year extension.

“We strongly believe that by endorsing the extension of Agoa, the US will be promoting African integration, industrialisation and infrastructure development – I’m sure the Americans would not want to lose this opportunity,” he said.

The US administration is keen to renew the programme, but the duration and possible reforms such as adding new duty-free products, refining eligibility criteria and tweaking regional content limits are yet to be thrashed out.

Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies said that African nations had suggested widening the range of products covered to include more textiles and agricultural products, but he did not see the need for a major overhaul.

“Our message has been: ‘we don’t think the African Growth and Opportunity Act is broken and therefore there is no need to fix it’,” Davies said.

Agoa, established in 2000, has already been renewed past its original 2008 expiry date and is now set to run until September 30 next year. Nearly 40 African countries are eligible to take part.

US-bound exports from sub-Saharan Africa – mainly oil – under Agoa and other trade preferences totalled $26.8 billion (R285.5bn) last year.

General Electric, for example, pledged $2bn in investments by 2018.

The US administration has already called for Congress to renew Agoa well ahead of its expiry date, albeit with reforms. 

Related News

Renewal of AGOA a benefit to both US and Africa

Renewal of AGOA a benefit to both US and Africa

Following the conclusion of the US-Africa Summit in Washington DC last week, it is opportune to reflect on some of the outcomes for SA and Africa. On the eve of the summit, ministers of trade from those African countries that are eligible for the trade preferences under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) called upon the US to seamlessly and timeously extend Agoa...

13 August, 2014
Rep. Karen Bass - Pictures from forum Cannon House event (during 2014 AGOA Forum)

Rep. Karen Bass - Pictures from forum Cannon House event (during 2014 AGOA Forum)

Growth and Opportunity in Africa Forum in coordination with the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Tuesday, August 5, 2014  [Please note - this event has concluded]   9:00 AM - 12:30 PM Cannon Caucus Room (345 Cannon House Office Building) U.S. House of Representatives Washington, DC 20515 Panel One 9:00 – 10:30 am Moderator: Dr. Monde Muyangwa Africa Program...

11 August, 2014
14 years of AGOA: Why no real Africa intra-trade?

14 years of AGOA: Why no real Africa intra-trade?

When President Bill Clinton signed the African Growth Opportunities Act (AGOA) into law 14 years ago, he offered incentives for African countries to open their economies and build free markets, to move the continent from an aid dependency to a viable trading partner. That is why at their summit hosted by US President Barack Obama in Washington, 50 African heads of states,...

07 August, 2014
African Union head cautions US on Africa

African Union head cautions US on Africa

  If the United States does not take more interest in Africa it is going to lose out, African Union commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said on Thursday. “It's in their advantage to know what's happening in Africa because if they don't come to the party eventually the party will happen without them,” she said in Washington. “Business people really know...

07 August, 2014
US-Africa Leaders Summit: CEOs promise to push AGOA further

US-Africa Leaders Summit: CEOs promise to push AGOA further

The United States House of Representatives on Wednesday hosted an event titled “A Dialogue With African CEOs” that brought together women and minority business owners, chief executives from across Africa and US and SME entrepreneurs. The focus of the panel discussion was to examine possible business partnerships between African business and government with their...

07 August, 2014