A ZAMBIAN delegation led by ministry of commerce permanent secretary Kayula Siame is in Washington to attend the 2016 African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum, a trade initiative between the United States (U.S) and sub-Saharan Africa.
The forum will run from 22nd to 26th September, under the theme “Maximising AGOA Now to Prepare for the Future Beyond AGOA”.
Ministry of Commerce public relations officer Godfrida Chanda, said the ministerial forum would bring together African and American government officials together to discuss closer economic ties between the US and Africa.
Ms Chanda explained that the forum would also bring together civil society and private sector representatives to discuss current trade and investment relations and possibilities for future engagement.
“AGOA is a trade initiative between the United States Government and sub-Saharan Africa that provides for an annual high-level meeting to foster closer economic ties between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa,
“The Zambian delegation will be led by Kayula Siame, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry,” she said.
She said the forum was timed to follow the President’s second U.S.-Africa Business Forum (USABF), which would take place in New York City on September 21.
Ms Chanda explained that AGOA was a U.S trade act that significantly enhanced U.S. market access for eligible products from sub-Saharan Africa.
She said there were 42 member countries in total.
“AGOA builds on existing U.S. trade initiatives by expanding the (duty-free) benefits previously available only under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
“Duty-free access to the U.S. market under the combined AGOA/GSP initiative stands at approximately 7,000 product tariff lines notably apparel, footwear, wine, certain motor vehicle components, and a variety of agricultural products, chemicals and steel,” she said.
On 29th June, 2015, the President of the U.S Barrack Obama, signed into law, the Trade Preferences Extension Act 2015, which further extends AGOA act for another ten years to 2025.The renewed and improved AGOA would work alongside other initiatives such as Trade Africa, Power Africa, Feed the Future, and Targeted Trade and Investment Capacity Building, to promote economic growth and expand partnerships with Africa.