Enacted in 2000, the United States’ African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which provides duty-free exports for African countries into the US market has been extended for four (4) more years.
The extension of the AGOA, therefore allows Ghanaian exporters to continue exporting duty-free goods into the US market.
Making the disclosure in an interview, US Ambassador to Ghana, Stephanie Sullivan noted the extension of the programme is due to the high demand for Ghanaian products by US consumers.
“AGOA is in force till 2025 and that gives us predictability and certain. There are 18 products that can be exported through the West African Trade Hub. We have done some capacity building to help them meet those standards. One other issue is packaging of which we are dealing with,” she noted.
“There is a huge market for Ghanaian products and my team and I are eager to work this out,” she added.
Renewed confidence in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has resulted in an upward trend, with the country’s trade under the programme registering a total of $748million last year, according to the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI).
The surge in performance reflects the collective efforts by government and other stakeholders including the chamber in strengthening the country’s exports.
After reaching its peak in 2011 with exports earnings of $779 million and subsequent decline in 2012, when it recorded $292 million.
Ghana’s performance under AGOA has been sustained by its broadly diversified exports to the USA in the areas of textiles and apparel, energy-related products, agricultural products, footwear, and minerals and metals.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been at the core of U.S. economic policy and commercial engagement with Africa. AGOA provides eligible sub-Saharan African countries with duty-free access to the U.S. market for over 1,800 products, in addition to the more than 5,000 products that are eligible for duty-free access under the Generalized System of Preferences program.
To meet AGOA’s rigorous eligibility requirements, countries must establish or make continual progress toward establishing a market-based economy, the rule of law, political pluralism, and the right to due process.
Additionally, countries must eliminate barriers to U.S. trade and investment, enact policies to reduce poverty, combat corruption and protect human rights.
By providing new market opportunities, AGOA has helped bolster economic growth, promoted economic and political reform, and improved U.S. economic relations in Sub-Saharan Africa.