African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was signed into law by President Clinton in May 2000 with the objective of expanding U.S. trade and investment with sub-Saharan Africa, to stimulate economic growth, to encourage economic integration, and to facilitate sub-Saharan Africa's integration into the global economy. The Act establishes the annual U.S.-sub-Saharan Africa Economic Cooperation Forum (known as the AGOA Forum) to promote a high-level dialogue on trade and investment-related issues. At the center of AGOA are substantial trade preferences that, along with those under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), allow virtually all marketable goods produced in AGOA-eligible countries to enter the U.S. market duty-free.
Since its inception, AGOA has helped to increase U.S. two-way trade with sub-Saharan Africa.
The U.S. Congress requires the President to determine annually whether sub-Saharan African countries are eligible for AGOA benefits based on progress in meeting certain criteria, including progress toward the establishment of a market-based economy, rule of law, economic policies to reduce poverty, protection of internationally recognized worker rights, and efforts to combat corruption. As of June 2011, 37 sub-Saharan African countries were eligible for AGOA benefits.
The U.S. Government provides assistance -- most notably through four regional trade hubs -- to African governments and businesses that are seeking to make the most of AGOA and to diversify their exports to the United States.
U.S.-AGOA Trade Facts
In 2011, U.S. goods imports from sub-Saharan African under AGOA and the related GSP program totaled $70.6 billion, up 59% from 2010, and more than five times the amount in 2001.
In 2011, over 93 percent of U.S. imports from AGOA-eligible countries entered duty-free, either under AGOA, GSP, or zero-duty Most Favored Nation rates.
For more information on AGOA, please visit www.agoa.gov.