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Kenya manufacturers welcome AGOA extension

Kenya manufacturers welcome AGOA extension
Published date:
Thursday, 02 July 2015

The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) Wednesday welcomed the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), which allows eligible countries from Sub-Saharan Africa to export some goods to the US without paying duty.

President Barack Obama yesterday, at the White House, signed the Bill authorising the extension of the non-reciprocal trade preference programme for another 15 years. Kam’s CEO designate Ms Phyllis Wakiaga yesterday welcomed the gesture and said re-authorisation of the trade agreement would benefit eligible countries like Kenya that trade with the US.

“Our export business will continue uninterrupted,” said Wakiaga. The renewal is good news to sectors like apparel manufacturers that have been exporting to the US. Yesterday’s signing of the Preferences Bill, HR 1295 to law by President Obama has now extended the deal to 2025. The Bill was approved by the US Congress last month and was awaiting Obama’s signature to become law.

Wakiaga applauded the US government for the timely passage of the Agoa Bill. The current deal would have expired on September 30 this year. “We recognise Obama’s administration for its steadfast support for the re-authorisation of Agoa, and the relentless advocacy by stakeholders that facilitated the process,” said Kam in a statement.

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Agoa’s ambassador Mr Jaswinder Bedi challenged stakeholders in the textile and apparel industry to work towards delivering 100,000 jobs and $1bn (Sh98 billion) revenue to the Kenyan economy in the next three years. He said that most of the companies that export apparel already had orders, which were intended to run beyond the deadline that had been set for expiry of the previous agreement.

“Participating countries must now address the challenges that have prevented them from seizing the opportunity to realise better business with the US in the last 15 years. Kenya, in particular, must work towards expanding the range of products that are currently being exported to the US market under Agoa. We must go beyond the apparel export and strategise how to take advantage of the approximately 6,400 products that are currently eligible for Agoa,” said Wakiaga.

Gabon is set to host the 14th Edition of Agoa International Forum from August 29 to 31, 2015. The meeting will give African economic operators the opportunity to sell their products on the American market under the theme: “Agoa 15 years: sustainability of the business and investment partnership between the United States and Africa”.

 

 

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