AGOA and the Future of U.S.-Africa Trade - 2023 U.S.-Africa Business Summit

On Wednesday, July 12, 2023, CCA hosted a special session on AGOA and the Future of U.S.-Africa Trade during which the Atlantic Council released a new report prepared by Senior Fellow Dr. Frannie Léautier.  Dr. Leautier summarized the main findings of her report, noting that AGOA has been a cornerstone of U.S. trade policy for Africa since 2000. Noting that AGOA’s current authorization expires in 2025, Dr. Leautier recommended it be renewed because it has had important positive impacts, while also offering some suggested changes to make the program more effective.  She stressed that AGOA has fostered a constructive dialogue on trade issues, particularly in textiles and apparel, even if benefits have generally be concentrated in a handful of countries and sectors. The session featured a second portion, which included an active panel discussion featuring the Ministers of Trade from Zambia, Lesotho and Botswana.  The ministers strongly urged Congress to renew AGOA in 2023 through 2035, underscoring the impact that uncertainty about the program’s renewal is having on private sector investment in several sectors in their countries.  The ministers admitted that their companies have at times found figuring out how to enter the U.S. market daunting.  The ministers acknowledged there are a number of proposals to improve AGOA, but expressed significant concern about making significant changes.  They were concerned that such changes could take time to draft, which could leave the program like the Generalized System of Preferences, which has been lapsed for more than two years.  They also agreed it is far better to renew the program largely as is without major changes that would take their companies yet more time to figure out, watering down the impact of any such changes.

Click here to watch the recorded session.