U.S. importers seek long-term AGOA renewal
A group of large U.S. retail trade associations have asked the country’s lawmakers in a letter this week to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act for at least 15 years “to ensure the predictability necessary to support trade and investment decisions.”
The associations said “shorter-term renewals will not provide enough certainty to enable the industry to make capital intensive investment decisions necessary to attract textile investments or affect long-term sourcing partnership decisions.”
AGOA, enacted in 2000, is set to expire on Sept. 30, 2015. It has been modified and extended several times by Congress.
The associations pushing for the longer-term AGOA renewal include the African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation, American Apparel & Footwear Association, National Retail Federation, Outdoor Industry Association, Retail Industry Leaders Association, and U.S. Association of Importers of Textiles and Apparel.
They said AGOA “plays a vital role in the development and support of a competitive U.S.-African textile and apparel trade partnership, a critical step to developing a broader reciprocal commercial relationship with AGOA countries. AGOA has created more than 300,000 direct jobs in Africa, and AGOA imports are important for the millions of American workers in apparel retailing, manufacturing and importing companies.”
AGOA's renewal must also include a long-term, third-country fabric renewal, the associations said.
“This provision has become central to AGOA. Renewing it for a shorter duration than the full program would be tantamount to renewing the entire program for that shorter duration. Moreover, further vertical integration into upstream textile production requires maintenance of a healthy downstream apparel sector, which in turn, is dependent upon the third country fabric provision,” the associations said.
“All AGOA beneficiary countries should be able to use third-country fabric provisions. Unequal application of this provision lessens the positive impact of AGOA and retards regional integration efforts,” they added.
There are nearly 40 African countries that are beneficiaries of the U.S. government’s AGOA program.
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