Extending African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) beyond September 2016

AGOA was signed into U.S. law as part of the Trade and Development Act on 18th July 2000 and is set to expire in September 2015. The Act seeks to promote economic development, while expediting integration of African economies into the world trading system. Furthermore, AGOA provides a framework for government-to-government; private sector; and civil society organizations to work together towards building trade capacity and expanding business links.

AGOA grants Sub- Saharan African (SSA) countries duty-free-quota-free access to the U.S. market for around 7,000 product lines, subject to certain eligibility requirements related to progress in developing a market-based economy, rule of law, and not pursuing activities that undermine U.S. security or foreign policy interests or internationally recognized human rights. Ghana has fully satisfied all AGOA requirements since its inception in 2000, and has hence enjoyed continual preferential market access for this duration.

AGOA is an enhancement to the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), which is another system of preferential market access granted to qualifying developing countries. In fact, AGOA provides additional 1,800 tariff lines to those embedded in the GSP; has a very flexible eligibility requirements, and does not lapse if the GSP experiences what have become frequent expirations and lapses. Again, duty-free treatment provided by AGOA is subject to more generous rules of origin requirements for textiles and apparels.

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