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Business News of Thursday, 6 December 2012

Source: B&FT

AGOA initiative extended

Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Dr. Rebecca Blank has pledged her government’s strong support for the continuation of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to promote trade from Africa.

“I was very pleased that President Obama signed a continuation of the AGOA agreements just this last summer.

“I have every faith that the sorts of investment and business opportunities are going to continue to unfold and that we will be in a position to strongly support a renewal of AGOA come 2015,” said Dr. Blank in a telephone-briefing with African Journalists.

“We have a whole set of institutions and individuals in Africa working within Africa to promote trade from Africa back, who have been working closely with AGOA over the last 10 to 15 years to make sure that companies are able to take advantage of the opportunities that legislation provides.”

The U.S administration, according Dr. Blank has stated its strong support for ongoing access to AGOA, to resign the agreement in 2015.

“Textiles and fabrics are an important piece of that as well. So there are a whole host of activities that we are undertaking that are designed to increase knowledge and interest in the United States in investments in Africa,” she said.

Currently, there are thousands of products that are available under the AGOA list to enter the United States duty-free.

For more than a dozen years, AGOA has been the U.S. government’s signature trade initiative with sub-Saharan Africa; helping diversify exports, create jobs, reduce barriers to trade, and expand economic opportunities for the region’s population.

With more than 6,000 products receiving duty-free treatment when exported to the United States, AGOA has helped generate jobs through trade and investment opportunities during its short lifespan.

AGOA provides a framework for improved access to U.S. credit and technical expertise, and establishes a high-level dialogue on trade and investment in the form of an annual US-sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Forum.

It is an integral component of the United States’ overall trade with sub-Saharan Africa, increasing two-way trade between the two regions to over US$95billion in 2011.

It also generated a US$13billion increase in two-way trade between 2010 and 2011, and a total of US$716.1billion since 2001.

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