Agoa agreement on shaky ground


The United States is on the cusp of suspending South Africa from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), a trade programme that benefits 39 Sub-Saharan African nations by removing import levies on more than 7,000 products.

South Africa was given until 31 December to resolve trade levy disputes, but missed the deadline. As such, trade tariffs for the country will thus be re-imposed. US President Barack Obama is expected to make an announcement during the course of today. The suspension will go into immediate effect once announced, and will affect all relevant goods - even those still in transit, which have not yet landed in the US.

Agoa has helped SA to more than double its exports to the US over the past decade and a half. According to reports, shipments under Agoa comprised some 20% of SA's exports to the US last year.

To stay beneficiaries of Agoa, countries must eliminate barriers to US trade and investment and operate a market-based economy, among other requirements.

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