Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Hon. Chipoka Mulenga says there is need for collaboration on the development of capacities to meet product standards set for the U.S. Market.
Mr. Mulenga said this in Washington, DC during the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Ministerial meeting hosted by United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai with trade ministers from AGOA eligible countries, U.S. Members of Congress, senior officials from the U.S. government and the African Union; the African Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the African Development Bank, and Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
The Ministerial meeting provided a platform to discuss AGOA implementation, including strengthening economic cooperation, expanding two-way trade and investment, supporting regional economic integration, and sharing perspectives on other key issues of mutual interest affecting U.S.-Africa trade.
During the AGOA meeting, a presentation of a study on the impact of the AGOA on Africa and recommendations of senior officials was made.
In agreeing and supporting the recommendations of the AGOA, Mr. Mulenga indicated that these would be good for sustained U.S. – Africa relations.
Mr. Mulenga, however, said regarding the recommendation on the extension of AGOA, there was need to take into consideration the sustainability of the business.
He recommended that the extension should be for a period longer than the 10 years recommended by the study.
“I want to emphasize the need for collaboration on the development of capacities to meet product standards set for the US Market. This would need to be coupled with attracting American investments into Africa that would partner with African investors intending to produce for the US market as well as for the large African Market,” Mr. Mulenga said.
The Ministerial meeting reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to expanding trade and investment with the continent and highlighted the broad agreement on the need to strengthen implementation and modernize AGOA to translate opportunity into concrete benefits for the African people.
Ambassador Tai thanked the Ministers for a productive and candid discussion about the issues that are central to the U.S.-Africa trade and investment relationship.
She emphasized the need to think creatively and build on the accomplishments of AGOA by developing ideas that will drive economic integration and investment across the continent.
AGOA was enacted in 2000 and has since been at the core of U.S. trade and investment policy with sub-Saharan Africa.
AGOA provides eligible sub-Saharan African countries with duty-free access to the U.S. economy and has helped drive investment on the continent, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, promoting regional integration and enhancing Africa’s export competitiveness.
The recommendations included the extension of the AGOA, widening the product base and support through investments and technical assistance for capacity to meet AGOA requirements.