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US Senators introduce bill to renew African trade pact till 2041

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African Trade Pact

US senators from the two main parties in the United States introduced a bill to renew US trade pact with Sub-Saharan Africa ahead of its expiration Next year.

According to Reuters, the bill was introduced by Senators Chris Coons, a Democrat, and James Risch, top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. A cross-party group of senators   Dick Durbin, Michael Bennet, Chris van Hollen, Todd Young, and Mike Rounds is co-sponsoring the bill.

An Aide to Senator Coon said that it was a high priority to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) this year.

The Bill seeks to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act for a fresh 16 years to 2041 and also seeks to help African countries take advantage of the program.

The Bill will also maintain benefits for countries as they grow richer enabling them to remain in the program if they are determined to be high-income for five years rather than removing them if they reach that threshold for a single year.

Under the Bill, African countries will be reviewed for eligibility every other year instead of annually like in the current status. However, the US president and certain leaders of Congress have the power to review the country’s eligibility at any time.

If a country is found ineligible for the program, the US president has a range of options, including terminating the country from the program or doing nothing. Current statute requires the president to terminate AGOA benefits if a country does not meet eligibility.

  • A Democratic aide to the Senate Finance Committee said Ron Wyden, chairman of the panel, “supports renewing AGOA and looks forward to working with the committees of jurisdiction and other interested members to develop a bipartisan, bicameral bill.” 

President Joe Biden has said he supports reauthorization of the pact initially enacted in 2000.

American business groups have said they need certainty about AGOA in order for African countries to take advantage of global efforts to lower dependence on Chinese manufacturing.

What To Know 

  • More than $10 billion worth of African exports entered the U.S. duty-free under the AGOA program in 2022, according to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office.
  • The top five beneficiaries of the AGOA program are Nigeria, Angola, South Africa, the Republic of Congo, and Chad. Other leading AGOA beneficiaries included Gabon, Cameroon, Lesotho, Madagascar, Kenya, Swaziland, Mauritius, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, and Malawi
  • AGOA was enacted in May 2000 and is the cornerstone of U.S. economic engagement with the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. AGOA is a long-term commitment with broad bipartisan support in the United States.

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