The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA); that offers tangible incentives for Sub-Sahara African countries to get integrated into the global multilateral trade system and grow their economies looks set to be renewed prior to its expiry.
Signed into law on May 18, 2000 under the Trade and Development Act of 2000, AGOA expires in September 2015.
In an effort to lobby for timely renewal, the African Union Ministerial Delegation, led by Lesotho Trade Minister, Hon. Sekhulumi Ntsoaole and supported by Trade Ministers of Gabon and Mauritius as well as a technical team from the Lesotho National Development Corporation and the Lesotho Textile Exporters Association, travelled to Washington DC from the 20th to the 24th January 2015, in order to meet with US trade policy makers.
LNDC CEO, Mr. Kelebone Leisanyane says “both the Republican majority in Senate and Congress as well as the Democrats are in agreement that AGOA should be renewed. The AGOA draft bill for renewal has been developed and is set for tabling and debate in the next few weeks and it is expected to be passed without major hassles by both parties in both Houses. However, renewal for 15 years seems highly unlikely. Authorities in the US seem to settle for a maximum 10yrs.”
Lesotho is the second largest textile exporter to the United States market through AGOA. According to the U.S-Africa Trade Report of 31st January, 2015; the U.S apparel imports from Africa under AOGA continued to grow during January – November 2014, increasing by 7.4% in volume and by 9.83% in value terms. During the period, Africa supplied 0.47% of total U.S textile and apparel imports, which is down from a high of 1.1% when the Multi-Fibre Agreement quotas expired in January 2005.