Africa: US industry presses for renewal of AGOA
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), through which the United States aims to support the continent through trade preferences, awaits renewal by Washington. Several professional organizations, including the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) have called for the timetable to be pushed forward.
A renewal of the AGOA requires the authorization of the Trade Promotion Authority, which allows the White House to negotiate trade agreements while avoiding amendments proposed or delays caused by Congress, which can only approve or reject the agreement. Congress has just approved the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015, on which AGOA negotiations depend, as does aid given to Haiti and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
In its present form, AGOA will come to an end in September. Initiated in 2015, the Act involves some 4,600 products, including textiles, apparel and footwear.
US aid would create 350,000 textile jobs in Africa, and 100,000 in the United States. In 2012, the fact that Congress waited until the last minute to renew AGOA may have caused the disappearance of 30 000 jobs in Africa.
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