SA wants Agoa for longer

South Africa will push for an extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) when US President Barack Obama makes an official visit to the country.

According to Fin24, Agoa, which allows southern African countries to ship certain products to the United States duty free, expires in 2015. However, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said that it would be in the interest of both the African states and the US for the agreement to be extended.

Fin24 quoted the minister as saying: “South Africa has been a beneficiary of Agoa, but we also think that Agoa is a very significant instrument to benefit the US, not least because it is a widely appreciated measure by the US which builds the US a high degree of goodwill in its relations with other countries on the African continent.”

Davies rejected the suggestion that South Africa should be excluded from Agoa because of the size of its economy, pointing out that South Africa was a gateway to the African continent for exports from the US. He also said that it would be problematic to treat one country that was part of a regional arrangement such as the Southern African Customs Union differently to the rest, Fin24 reported.

President Barack Obama is due to arrive in South Africa on Friday for his first official trip to South Africa. He and President Jacob Zuma will hold bilateral talks on Saturday that will, among other things, include discussions about trade.