Exports of textiles and apparel from African countries to the US under the trade regime, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) are expected to reach $4 billion over the next 10 years, according to a Reuters report.
The AGOA was signed into law by the US Congress on May 18, 2000, with the broad objective of boosting exports from sub- Saharan Africa to the US by eliminating tariff barriers on a large number of exports.
AGOA was initially due to expire in 2008, however it was subsequently extended and it is now set to expire in 2015.
The US congress is however, calling for a renewal past the extension date.
The report notes that in 2014, US clothing imports from sub-Saharan Africa countries reached $986 million, up nearly six percent from 2013, as countries such as Lesotho, Kenya, Ethiopia and Tanzania participated in the programme.
AGOA is also said to have fueled growth in Africa-US trade Since the act came into operation. AGOA-related non-oil exports from Africa have grown five-fold to $53.8 billion from $8.1 billion over ten years, by 2011.
As of June 2011, there were 37 countries in the programme, but on October 25, 2011, President Barack Obama signed a presidential proclamation designating Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Niger as eligible for AGOA benefits.
The programme expands the list of products which eligible sub-Saharan African countries may export to the United States subject to zero import duty under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). While general GSP covers approximately 4,600 items, AGOA GSP applies to more than 6,400 items. AGOA GSP provisions are in effect until September 30, 2015.
While there have been calls for the US to make AGOA permanent, the US itself says, it’s impossible to make the programme permanent, but it was possible to extend the enforcement period.
By Emmanuel K Dogbevi