WASHINGTON -- Today, the U.S. Trade Representative submitted a report to
Congress on the benefits of the U.S. trade program with respect to sub-Saharan
The 2006 Comprehensive Report on U.S. Trade and Investment Policy Toward
Sub-Saharan Africa and Implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act
(AGOA) notes that two-way trade between the United States and sub-Saharan
African countries has increased 115 percent since AGOA’s launch in 2000. It also
describes the wide array of U.S. programs that are assisting African countries
to bolster economic growth and development through trade.
"AGOA helps Africans use the power of trade to grow their economies and
reduce poverty," said U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman. "It also supports
the efforts of those African countries undertaking difficult economic and
political reforms. As these countries open their economies and increase their
capacity to trade, opportunities are also arising for American exports to
"The United States recognizes how aid for trade helps developing countries
participate more fully in the global trading system," Portman noted. "That’s why
we committed $199 million to trade capacity building activities in sub-Saharan
Africa last year."
The annual report to Congress provides an overview of the U.S. trade and
investment relationship with sub-Saharan African countries, describes trade
capacity building and other technical assistance programs undertaken in support
of AGOA objectives, and summarizes developments in sub-Saharan African countries
related to AGOA’s eligibility criteria. The full report can be found on the USTR
web site: www.ustr.gov.
Highlights from the 2006 report:
Thirty-seven of the 48 sub-Saharan African countries are eligible for
benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which provides
them duty-free access to the U.S. market for virtually all products. On January
1, 2006, Burundi was added to the list of eligible countries, and Mauritania was
removed from the list. As of April 2006, twenty-five sub-Saharan African
countries are eligible to receive AGOA’s apparel benefits. Fourteen of these
countries also qualify for AGOA’s provisions for handloomed and handmade
articles. One country, Nigeria, qualifies for AGOA’s ethnic printed fabric
Since its inception in 2000, AGOA has helped increase
U.S. two-way trade with sub-Saharan Africa by 115 percent. In 2005, U.S. total
exports to sub-Saharan Africa rose 22 percent from 2004, to $10.3 billion. U.S.
total imports from sub-Saharan Africa increased by 40 percent to $50.3 billion.
In 2005, over 98 percent of U.S. imports from AGOA-eligible countries entered
the United States duty-free.
U.S. imports from sub-Saharan African countries under
AGOA (including its GSP provisions) totaled $38.1 billion in 2005, up 44 percent
over 2004 – largely
due to oil. Several non-oil sectors experienced increases, including footwear,
toys, sportswear, fruits, nuts and cut flowers. However, total non-oil AGOA
trade declined by 16 percent, to $2.9 billion in 2005, mainly due to: increased
global competition in the apparel sector, resulting in part from the end of
global apparel quotas and the anticipated end of AGOA third country fabric
provisions; an appreciation of key currencies such as the South African rand;
decreased demand for key minerals and metals such as manganese; and production
shifts in the South African automotive sector.
The Administration is intensifying its work with U.S.
stakeholders, including Congress, private sector and non-governmental
organizations, as well as with African governments, international financial
institutions, and others to identify and address barriers inhibiting country and
product utilization of AGOA.
The United States devoted $199 million to trade
capacity building (TCB) activities in sub-Saharan Africa in FY2005, up more than
10 percent from FY2004, and up about 50 percent from FY2003. In addition to
ongoing TCB work conducted by regional trade competitiveness hubs in Ghana,
Botswana, and Kenya, a fourth hub was opened in Dakar, Senegal in October 2005
to help eligible African countries increase their exports under AGOA.
The United States was a leading provider of foreign
direct investment to Africa. At year-end 2004, the U.S. direct investment
position rose 23.4 percent from 2003, to $13.5 billion. U.S. direct investment
in Africa supports U.S. trade with the region and enhances U.S.-African business
The United States and the Southern African Customs
Union (SACU) remained committed to concluding a comprehensive free trade
agreement (FTA). In April 2006, the United States and SACU agreed to establish a
framework that would form the basis for pursuing the FTA over the longer term,
develop a joint work program to address a broad range of FTA and other related
issues, and seek to conclude concrete trade- and investment-enhancing
The fourth annual meeting of the U.S.-Sub-Saharan
Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum was held in Senegal in July 2005.
The official U.S. delegation was led by Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice joined the closing ceremonies, and other
senior U.S. government representatives participated in the meeting. Ministers
and senior officials from nearly all AGOA countries participated, as well as
private sector and civil society representatives from the United States and AGOA
countries. During the Forum, President Bush announced a new Presidential
Initiative – the
African Global Competitiveness Initiative (AGCI) – providing $200 million in funding over five years
to support expanded African trade and improved African export competitiveness.