In a significant move to strengthen economic ties between the US and Sub-Saharan Africa, the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has provided its support to the proposed AGOA Renewal and Improvement Act of 2024. Introduced by Senator Chris Coons and Senator James Risch, the act aims to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) by 16 years, from its current expiration date in September 2025 to 2041.

AGOA stands as a key element of the US economic engagement with Sub-Saharan Africa, offering duty-free access to the US market for eligible African countries. This trade preference programme has been instrumental in reducing the costs of trade, attracting investment to the region, and fostering a mutually beneficial economic relationship between the US and Africa. By providing opportunities for US businesses, workers, and consumers, AGOA has played a critical role in promoting sustainable economic development across the continent, AAFA said in a press release.

The AAFA has supported extending AGOA by 16 years to 2041, aiming to bolster US-Sub-Saharan Africa economic ties.
AGOA offers duty-free US market access, encouraging trade and investment.
The extension seeks to provide business stability and foster growth, aligning with the USMCA and paving the way for future trade deals like AfCFTA and STIP.

The proposed extension is seen as a vital step in providing businesses with the certainty and stability they need to commit to long-term investments in Sub-Saharan Africa. Such investments are expected to further spur economic growth and development within the region. The 16-year extension period mirrors that of the US-Mexico Canada Agreement (USMCA), underscoring the commitment to a stable and enduring trade relationship.

Furthermore, AGOA is recognised as a foundational bridge to future trade agreements, including the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the US-Kenya Strategic Trade and Investment Partnership (STIP). By solidifying the framework for economic cooperation, the extension of AGOA is poised to unlock new avenues for trade and investment, reinforcing the strategic importance of Africa in global commerce.

“As companies work to diversify out of China today more than ever, immediate and long-term renewal of AGOA for a 16-year period would be incredibly impactful and timely,” says AAFA president and CEO Steve Lamar. “AGOA renewal would bring quality work opportunities for African workers, many of whom are women, as companies commit to retain or grow orders from African factories as vital partners in their sourcing matrices.”

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (DP)

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