Pretoria: Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has arrived in Washington to advocate for the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with South Africa as a beneficiary country.
Minister Davies joins a delegation of senior government officials, business and labour – led by Special Envoy on AGOA Faizel Ismael – which has been in the US since the weekend.
The Minister and his delegation will be meeting with the United States Trade Representative (USTR) regarding AGOA, which expires in September this year.
South Africa, together with sub-Saharan African countries, has been calling for the 15-year renewal of AGOA for all eligible countries.
AGOA’s purpose is to assist the economies of sub-Saharan Africa to improve economic relations between the United States and the region.
The reauthorisation of AGOA is done by the US Congress. It provides duty-free market access to the US for qualifying sub-Saharan African countries by extending preferences on more than 4 600 products.
Minister Davies says AGOA is non-partisan as congress members also believe that it should be extended.
According to him, the attitude of the South African government remains one of positive engagement on all the concerns raised by the US constituencies.
The South African delegation has already met with the chairperson of the African Union Commission, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, to brief her about developments on AGOA.
The delegation also met with civil society and think tanks to share views on the renewal of AGOA. There has been overwhelming support for the timely renewal of AGOA for all eligible countries.
Meanwhile, the Presidency on Tuesday said the telephonic discussions between Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and US Vice President Joe Biden regarding AGOA are part of on-going discussions between the two governments and are conducted at various levels.
“As and when it is necessary, the relevant South African and USA counterparts will certainly make the necessary pronouncements,” the Presidency said.
SOURCE: South African Official News