The 12th US-Sub Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum 2013, also called AGOA Forum, concluded recently in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with a strong intention for the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for another 15 years.
The AGOA Act offers tangible incentives for several African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets and export most of their products, including textile and apparel, duty-free to the US.
The AGOA Act was signed into law on May 18, 2000 as Title 1 of the Trade and Development Act of 2000, and is to expire on September 30, 2015.
The Forum closed with strong endorsements by the African ministers urging the US Congress to extend AGOA for another 15 years, thereby allowing the US and its African partners to continue the course for significant development of the region.
Michael Froman, US Trade Representative, who led the US delegation at the Forum, said US officials and ministers from AGOA eligible Sub-Saharan African countries have launched a review to discuss changes to be made while taking AGOA forward.
According to a statement from the Office of The US Trade Representative, Mr. Froman said, “Our strategy goes beyond traditional aid and assistance, we’re focused on mobilizing trade and investment”
“President Obama has made clear that we seek a ‘seamless’ renewal of AGOA before it expires in 2015, one that will give certainty and predictability to manufacturers, buyers, and investors both in Africa and in the United States, and we will work in partnership with stakeholders, in the US and Africa, especially with Congress, to achieve that objective.”
The AGOA Forum was held nearly a year after the third-country fabric provision was extended till September 30, 2015, by the US Government to facilitate African apparel exports to the US.
In 2012, AGOA-eligible countries exported goods worth nearly US$ 35 billion, including textiles and clothing, to the United States under the act.