A decade after the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), a preferential US trade agreement, became law on 18 May 2000, there are questions over the benefits, if any, derived from the initiative.
Global euphoria over the election of Barack Obama as US President George Bush’s successor has been tempered somewhat by the realisation that the Democrats have not historically been overly keen on free trade.
The Assistant Minister in the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Duke Lefhoko, has urged manufacturers to widen their marketing scope beyond the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), given the impending new trade arrangements that Botswana is negotiating with other countries.
An official of the National Investment Commission has disclosed that the new Investment Code prohibits discrimination against any investor in Liberia.
The Assistant United States of America Trade Representative to Africa, Madam Florizelle Liser says Liberia needs law that will protect domestic and foreign businesses in the country.
Both the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the fast-tracked Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) seem to reflect less a genuine desire in fairer trade for the true benefits of the African economies than securing access to relevant markets and mainly the exploitation of relevant natural resources in the interest of the European Union and the USA, said Executive Director of the Dag Hammarskjöld Foundation, Dr Henning Melber.
The United States currently has no FTAs with countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The Bush Administration is pursuing alternative means of strengthening its trade and investment relationships
with key African partners, including trade and investment framework agreements
(TIFAs), bilateral investment treaties (BITs), and a proposed trade and investment
cooperation agreement (TICA).
Trouble. Government has failed to seal a textile tax-free export extension deal with the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) which now means over 6,000 jobs in the textile industry in the country face uncertain future, Economic Report can reveal.
The recent approval of a five-year extension of permission to use foreign fabrics in Africa’s duty-free clothing exports to the US is seen by trade experts in Washington as helping to stabilise East Africa’s textile industries. But the action last week by the US Congress is unlikely to reverse the downward trend in Kenya and Uganda’s apparel sales to the American market.
In a move that is strongly opposed by US textile manufacturers, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has introduced legislation that will make major changes in the textile provisions of two trade agreements and also promote investments in African facilities by US companies.
On the final day of the annual forum on the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) last month, the United States and Rwanda signed a bilateral agreement aimed at increasing trade flow between the two countries.
We are particularly concerned that the EU’s plan for so-called Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA’s) with our countries is having the effect of splitting SADC into two groups and undermining the potential for our future co-ordinated regional programmes for mutual economic and social development.
Washington recently played host to the annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) forum, an annual event mandated by the Agoa legislation which brings together stakeholders from Africa and the US.
After calling off negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with five Southern African countries last month, the US has indicated its intentions to negotiate new trade arrangements with several African countries including Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique and Ghana.
The United States and Rwanda today signed an agreement aimed at deepening and strengthening trade and investment ties between the two countries.
A chorus of US officials is signaling that Washington wants to turn a controversial programme giving poor African nations partial access to US markets into a full-fledged free trade agreement that would open Africa’s economy to US corporations.
Washington has invited African trade and finance ministers for talks on the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) - the US partial free trade regime for imports from Africa.
Why is there a sudden shift to regionalism as opposed to the much over-blown globalisation represented by multilateralism? Can Africa begin to understand that there is a dynamic and concerted effort at balkanising the continent into segmented disciplines?
Trade experts say the United States is demanding far deeper market access than South Africa is willing to give, particularly in the area of services that are covered by regulatory protection rather than tariffs.
Negotiations for a free trade agreement between the US and the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) stalled last year in an atmosphere of impasse rather than acrimony. But on the explicit instruction of President Thabo Mbeki, the talks are now on again and new, ambitious targets have been set for their completion, as well as a new plan for getting past the problems that plagued the last effort.