The United States of America has renewed the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) program.
[contextly_sidebar id=”CMKU5ILbdVmbfeeKoyKZBdyDvmv7dkAc”]The program which was to expire in September this year has been extended for ten years.
The new extension which was signed by President Barack Obama gives the US the ability to withdraw, suspend, or limit benefits if designated AGOA countries do not comply with its eligibility criteria.
AGOA is a preferential trade agreement between the United States and sub-Saharan African countries.
Currently about 39 countries in Africa including Ghana have signed onto the deal.
For an African country to qualify it must be a democratic state.
AGOA allows the qualifying countries to export some products duty-free and quota free to the US.
Over 6 thousand products from Africa including petroleum, clothing and various other industrial and agricultural products fall under the initiative.
AGOA which was signed into law in 2000 was enacted to expand U.S. trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa and allows certain products made in Africa into the U.S. duty and quota free.
According to the US for 15 years, AGOA has provided tangible economic benefits and opportunities to sub-Saharan Africa by helping African companies improve their competitiveness and invest in building a strong private sector.
US state officials have asserted that cocoa and cashew exports from Ghana to the US went up by 300 percent within a period of 13 years under the AGOA initiative.
Figures on exactly how much cocoa and cashew nuts Ghana was exporting to the US before the AGOA initiative have not been made available.
Secretary of State for the US John Kerry speaking at the 2014 U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum in Washington said imports of cocoa and cashew from Ghana have increased by 300 percent under the initiative.
‘But for 14 years, AGOA has been one of the primary tools to push forward greater trade and investment in Africa. And guess what? It is working. We’ve seen imports from AGOA nations grow by 300 percent. Whether it’s cocoa and cashews from Ghana or textiles from Mauritius or petrochemical products from Angola, AGOA has served as a catalyst for greater trade and prosperity, and it’s helped to promote greater protections for the African workforce.’ He said.
By: Vivian Kai Lokko/citifmonline.com/Ghana