By FARAJA MGWABATI, 30th December 2011 @ 11:02, Total Comments: 0, Hits: 4291
UNITED States has approved 40 Sub-Saharan countries, including Tanzania, for the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), a trade preference arrangement for 2012.
US Trade Representative to Tanzania, Ambassador Ron Kirk, announced President Barrack Obama’s decision to designate 40 sub-Saharan African countries as eligible for AGOA benefits in 2012 on Thursday.
Ambassador Kirk said this during this year’s review process, President Obama determined that all of the countries currently eligible for trade preferences and other benefits under the AGOA would remain eligible and that no new countries would be added as beneficiaries.
“President Obama’s determination today is good news for the people of these African nations, as well as for the American businesses and workers trading with these countries,” said Ambassador Kirk.
“We are proud to announce, after a thorough review by the Obama Administration, that all 40 of these important US trading partners will continue to receive benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act – a vital and growing pillar of US-Africa trade policy,” he added.
Ambassador Kirk visited Tanzania in June 2011 to strengthen the US-Tanzania trade and investment relations. Tanzania is currently US’s 138th largest goods trading partner with 207 million US dollars in total (exports plus imports) during 2010. US Exports to Tanzania totalled 164 million US dollars while imports totalled 43 million US dollars.
Tanzania experienced trade deficit of 121 million US dollars during the same period. For countries to be selected for AGOA they need to meet eligibility criteria, which include establishing or making continual progress towards establishing a market-based economy, rule of law, economic policies to reduce poverty, protection of internationally recognized workers’ rights and efforts to combat corruption.
Countries eligible for AGOA also may not engage in activities that undermine US foreign policy interests or engage in gross violations of internationally-recognized human rights. AGOA was signed into law by President Clinton in May 2000 to expand US trade and investment with sub-Saharan Africa.
Under this arrangement SSA gets duty free quota free access to US markets. According to Ambassador Kirk, top five beneficiary countries for AGOA are; Nigeria, Angola, South Africa, Republic of Congo and Chad. Other leading AGOA beneficiaries included Gabon, Lesotho, Kenya, Mauritius and Swaziland.
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