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American Shipper

Bush administration praises congressional passage of AGOA III

Bush administration praises congressional passage of AGOA III

   The Bush administration praised the Senate for its June 24 passage of legislation to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

   The House passed a similar version of the legislation, also known as 2004 AGOA Acceleration Act, earlier this month.

   Congress passed the original AGOA legislation in 2000 to develop a new trade partnership between United States and sub-Saharan Africa. AGOA grants duty-free status to about 95 percent of U.S. imports from approved sub-Saharan African countries.

   Today, the United States is sub-Saharan Africa’s largest single country export market, accounting for 20 percent of the region’s exports in 2002. Trade between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa was just under $33 billion in 2003, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative.

   “AGOA has created new commercial opportunities for Africans,” said U.S. trade representative Robert Zoellick in a statement. “Last year alone, non-fuel exports to the United States from eligible countries were up more than 30 percent over 2002.”

   The USTR has approved 37 of the 48 sub-Saharan African countries to receive AGOA benefits. On Dec. 31, Angola was added to the list of eligible countries, and two countries — Central African Republic and Eritrea — were removed from the list for failing to meet the eligibility requirements.

   As of April, 24 countries were eligible to receive AGOA’s apparel benefits. Eight countries have qualified for AGOA’s special handloomed and handmade provisions.

   In addition, the United States also devoted $133 million to “trade capacity building” initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa in fiscal year 2003, up 26 percent from the previous fiscal year.

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