Parliamentary Question: DTI: AGOA

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Question 306

Mr T D Harris (DA) to ask the Minister of Trade and Industry:

Whether he has a plan in place to motivate for the extension of (a) the United States of America’s African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) beyond 2015 and (b) the so-called third-country fabric provision of that Act beyond 2013; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?

Response:

It should be recalled that the United States Africa Growth and Opportunity Act – AGOA – is a unilateral, non-reciprocal, tariff preference scheme that the US offers qualifying countries in Sub-Sarahan Africa. It is legislated by the US Congress and is due to expire in 2015 while the third-country fabric provision, which South Africa does not benefit from, is due to expire in 2013. Any extension of the third country fabric provision and for the overall AGOA progamme itself will be a decision of the US Congress. The US Congress has previously extended the AGOA.

In our view, and one shared by all sub-Saharan African counties that have benefited from the scheme, AGOA has been a success. On the basis of the scheme, exports from Africa to the USA have grown significantly and helped to underpin economic development in Africa for those economies that benefit from the scheme. AGOA is the most important framework for building USA-Africa trade and investment relations and represents the most tangible and meaningful expression of US support for African development.

As a result, South Africa together with all other countries that benefit from the scheme in Africa have repeatedly lobbied that AGOA should be extended beyond the current expiry date in 2015, and that we should deepen and extend its benefits. South Africa has also lobbied, and obtained support from other African countries, to extend the third country fabric to South Africa.



This lobbying effort, collectively and individually, has been in place since 2009. South African Ministers have met key members of Congress, US Business, to register support to the African position calling for the extension of AGOA. It has been raised on several occasions with the United States Trade Representative, Ambassador Ron Kirk, and with the Secretary of State, Ms Hillary Clinton. We will continue to make this call in scheduled meetings for this year including at the next Joint US-Africa AGOA Forum to be held in Zambia. We trust the US Administration and Congress will see the value in building on AGOA by extending it, deepening and building on this trade and investment relationship.