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Saturday, 24 August 2013

US fears competition with EU for Sub-Saharan Africa trade

The United States fear that the potential European trade deals with Sub-Saharan African nations (the Economic Partnership Agreements or EPAs currently under negotiations) might affect the benefits to its own companies, as reviews its own preferential trade initiative with the continent, Voice of America informs.
On August 12, at a forum in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Sub-Saharan African ministers and U.S. officials met to discuss the details of a new extension to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The AGOA is an American law that allows sub-Saharan African countries to export certain products to the United States duty free. To qualify for AGOA benefits, eligible countries are supposed to demonstrate they are working to improve rule of law, human rights, and to set labor standards. Currently, 39 countries are eligible. First signed into law in 2000, the act has already been renewed once, and is set to expire in 2015.
U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman has been reported to have said that one of the big questions in these new negotiations is about their impact of African trade talks with the European Union.
Skepticism exists over the benefits of this law to the US companies: “I imagine there will be significant skepticism in the United States that we should allow one-way access to our market if our firms are being put at a disadvantage,” Froman is to have said.

In 2012, trade between AGOA countries and the United States was evaluated at about $67 billion (50,7 billion Euros), most of it in the form of oil and natural gas exports to the U.S.

Source: Voice of America (voanews.com)

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