As the African Growth & Opportunity Act, otherwise known as AGOA, comes to an end in 2025, the US government is encouraging Sub-Saharan African countries to look for alternatives. The 2000 Act was aimed at providing Sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access to the US market.
There is a possibility the Act may not be renewed. This came under the spotlight at the manufacturing conference which is under way in Cape Town. US officials are encouraging qualifying governments to begin engaging the American government about the alternatives. There’s strong lobbying for the US to reconsider South Africa’s preferential trade access.
Deputy Assistant of Trade Representatvies: US, Janet Heinzen, says 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.”
But not all is doom and gloom. America’s biggest importer of apparel and footwear will continue to look for products from the continent, with or without AGOA. Executive Vice President of the American Apparel and Footwear Association, Steve Lamar, says their members are looking for stability and reliability.
The US manufacturers are also facing a crisis of their own. The imposition of tariffs on Chinese textiles and clothing products, according to Lamar, has resulted in chaos within their industry. Americans import almost 50% of their products from China.
However, they say this could open up new opportunities for African manufacturers to take advantage of this crisis.
The conference ends on Friday.
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