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Jun 6, 2011

AGOA to be re-Authorized

As part of mechanisms to enhance and accelerate trade growth between the United States (US) and the African continent, a press briefing to discuss the 2011 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum has been held.

The briefing took place at the Washington Foreign Press Center in the US with Ambassador Johnnie Carson, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs; Andrew Mayock, Deputy Vice President of Compact Operations, Millennium Challenge Corporation; and US Trade Representative for African Affairs, Florizelle Liser.

Addressing Ghanaian journalists via teleconference call at the US Embassy in Accra, Ambassador Carson, expressed the conviction that AGOA remains the center piece of the US’s trade and investment policy with Africa and has made progress in creating jobs, spurring economic growth and facilitating a dialogue on key economic and political challenges.

US trade with south Saharan Africa has more than doubled with about 37 African countries as eligible partners.

In the year 2000, US exports to Africa were valued at $5.9 billion and its imports totaled $ 23.4 billion. Through AGOA, these levels rose to $17.1 billion in exports and $64.3 billion in African imports in 2010.

This has created the avenue for American companies and workers as they have found new opportunities to do business in Africa by providing inputs and expertise to aspiring African entrepreneurs

Florizelle Liser asserted that 65 billion products are imported to the states from Africa annually without any payment or duty. This, she said is to add value to commodity and trade transactions

She said Ghana has tremendous potentials as far as trade is concerned and is also a high performer under AGOA. Ghana since the establishment of AGOA has focused on the exportation of a wide range of products such as textiles, Shea and cocoa products, vegetables, fruits, baskets and precious models

According to her, simply opening up market for the importation and exportation of these goods is not enough, hence, help is rendered in the form of trade shows and exhibitions to enhance and accelerate trade.

She opined that AGOA has opened up a world of trade opportunities for eligible African countries which has created thousands of jobs in Africa that has led to poverty alleviation in the continent.

The Obama administration wants to re-authorise AGOA which is set to expire in 2015, through 2025. Therefore, an annual AGOA forum is scheduled to take place on June 8-10 in Zambia to deliberate the US government’s effort to re-authorise the Act.

The forum will be attended by the US Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, US Trade Representative, Ron Kirk as well as other US senior officials.

The proposed theme for the forum is “Enhancing Productivity and Value Addition for Deeper Economic Integration”.

Source: ISD (Mabel Addo)