U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has stated that the Biden administration intends to collaborate with Congress to enhance the U.S.-Africa trade program known as AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act), rather than simply renewing it without any modifications.
In his press release, President Joe Biden expressed strong support for the reauthorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which has been a pivotal, bipartisan legislation underpinning U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa for over two decades. He urged Congress to promptly reauthorize AGOA and to update this significant act to align with the economic opportunities of the next decade.
AGOA has served as the cornerstone of U.S. economic policy and trade relations with Africa. This legislation grants eligible sub-Saharan African nations access to the U.S. market for over 1,800 products with duty-free privileges, along with more than 5,000 products eligible for duty-free access under the generalized system of preferences program.
The current agreement is scheduled to expire in September 2025, having been renewed twice previously. African nations are advocating for an early 10-year extension of the pact without any alterations.
Extending and enhancing the pact offers several advantages, including establishing a stable environment for businesses and investors to cultivate long-term partnerships. This, in turn, generates fresh prospects for businesses in both countries, fortifies trade connections between the United States and African nations, and amplifies cooperation on trade and development matters. The pact brings about predictability and stability, particularly in the Energy and Mining sectors.
By extending the agreement, there is a potential to reverse the recent decline in petroleum and precious metals trade under AGOA. Additionally, the extension can promote the diversification of industries in Africa, thereby creating more employment opportunities on the continent.