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Report Shows AGOA Continues to Grow and Diversify U.S.-Africa Trade

 

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative today submitted to Congress the 2008 Comprehensive Report on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa and Implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).  The annual report to Congress provides an overview of the U.S. trade and investment relationship with sub-Saharan African countries, describes trade capacity building and other technical assistance programs in support of AGOA objectives, and summarizes developments in sub-Saharan African countries related to AGOA’s eligibility criteria. 

“Eight years after its enactment into law, AGOA continues to have a profound and positive impact on U.S. trade and investment with sub-Saharan Africa,” said U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab.  “It has helped to increase two-way U.S.-African trade, promoted greater diversification of exports from AGOA-eligible countries, and reinforced African economic reform efforts.  The U.S. Government has provided substantial trade capacity building assistance to help Africans utilize the trade opportunities offered under AGOA and to participate more effectively in the global trading system.  The improved business environment in Africa under AGOA has also helped to create new opportunities for U.S. exports to the region.”

The following are some highlights from the 2008 report:

·        With the addition of Mauritania in June 2007, and Togo in April 2008, there are now 40 sub-Saharan African countries eligible for African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) benefits, the highest number ever.  As of May 2008, 27 of these countries are eligible to receive AGOA’s apparel benefits. 

·        Since its inception in 2000, AGOA has helped increase U.S. two-way trade with sub-Saharan Africa.  In 2007, U.S. total exports to sub-Saharan Africa totaled $14.4 billion, more than double the amount in 2001.  U.S. total imports from sub-Saharan Africa more than tripled during this period to $67.4 billion.  In 2007, over 98 percent of U.S. imports from AGOA-eligible countries entered the United States duty-free. 

·        AGOA imports (including GSP) totaled $51.1 billion in 2007, more than six times the amount in 2001, the first full-year of AGOA.  While petroleum products accounted for the largest portion of AGOA imports, non-oil AGOA trade totaled $3.4 billion in 2007; more than double the amount in 2001.  Several non-oil sectors experienced sizable increases during this period, including apparel, footwear, vehicles, fruits and nuts, prepared vegetables, leather products, cut flowers, prepared seafood, and essential oils.

·        The United States obligated $505 million to trade capacity building (TCB) activities in sub-Saharan Africa in FY2007, up 26 percent from FY2006.  Cumulative U.S. TCB to sub-Saharan Africa from FY2001 to FY2007 totaled $1.6 billion.

·        In February 2008, President Bush and Rwandan President Kagame signed the United States-Rwanda Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT), which will enter into force following approval by the United States Senate and the Rwandan Parliament.  The Administration is currently exploring the possibility of launching BIT negotiations with other sub-Saharan African countries.

·        The United States was a leading provider of foreign direct investment to Africa.  At year-end 2006, the U.S. direct investment position rose 52 percent from 2001, to $13.8 billion.  U.S. direct investment in Africa promotes economic development, supports U.S. trade with the region, and enhances U.S.-African business partnerships.

·        In February 2008, President Bush announced that the Overseas Private Investment Corporation would support five new private equity investment funds focused on sub-Saharan Africa, with a combined target capitalization of $875 million.

·        The sixth annual meeting of the U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum (“the AGOA Forum”) was held in Ghana in July 2007.  The official U.S. delegation, led by U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab, included senior representatives from more than a dozen U.S. government agencies.  Ministers and senior officials from nearly all AGOA beneficiary countries participated, as well as private sector and civil society representatives from the United States and AGOA countries.

The full report can be found on the USTR web site:  www.ustr.gov. 

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