19 Jun Look for alternatives, US official tells Africa as AGOA nears end
With the ending of a law permitting African countries to export products duty-free to the United States, the government of President Donald Trump is “encouraging” Sub-Saharan African countries to look elsewhere for trade opportunities, APA has learnt.The 2000 law, dubbed the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), comes to an end in 2025. Aimed at providing Sub-Saharan African countries’ products duty-free access to the rich US market, there was a possibility the law may not be renewed, according to US officials.
This came under the spotlight on Thursday at the manufacturing conference which is under way in Cape Town, where US officials are encouraging qualifying governments to begin engaging the American government about the alternatives.
While there is strong lobbying for the US to reconsider South Africa’s preferential trade access, US Deputy Assistant of Trade Representatives Janet Heinzen said that AGOA was never intended to be a permanent solution.
“As of now, AGOA is not a permanent answer and it was never intended to be a permanent answer. So what we’re looking for is permanent reciprocal trade partnerships,” Heinzen said.
The trade representative was merely echoing Trump’s current war cry of the need for the US to have bilateral — as opposed to multilateral — trade deals.