South African ambassador upbeat over AGOA review
Despite a potentially contentious out-of-cycle review of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) being under way in Washington, SA’s ambassador to the US, Mninwa Mahlangu, remains upbeat that the country will continue to benefit from the trade concessions provided in the arrangement.
Mr Mahlangu said SA had made progress in addressing the red flags raised by the US.
"One of the issues (related) to poultry, (the) South African Poultry Association has since (the) post-Paris deal drafted the industry-to-industry agreement to confirm the understanding of the discussions … and forwarded it to the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council and the National Chicken Council for consideration, a response (to) which was received recently," he said.
"The government is ready to implement the agreement once finalised by the respective poultry industries," he added.
The Paris meeting earlier this year agreed to pass on the debate with regard to the merits or demerits of the antidumping duties that SA imposed on US bone-in chicken pieces, he said.
Instead, both industries agreed to focus on finding a mutually acceptable solution to the US interest in seeking to secure market access for its bone-in chicken pieces.
Mr Mahlangu said SA had made significant progress, and continued on this trajectory, in addressing other US market access interests and regulatory concerns on beef and pork.
In Gabon for the 14th Agoa forum, he said the act had earned goodwill for the US in Africa. The forum rotates each year between the US and sub-Saharan African states.
The other potential point of contention for SA’s participation could be the country’s Expropriation Bill and draft intellectual property regulations. This month the American Chamber of Commerce in SA urged the US trade representative to use its review of Agoa to pressure SA to change the draft policy in favour of American companies.