At the request of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) has launched four investigations that will examine the impact of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) on African exporters and for U.S. businesses. AGOA is the U.S. trade preference program that provides duty-free access for products of sub-Saharan African exporters entering the United States.  Unless renewed by the U.S. Congress, the program will expire on September 30th, 2015. 

Ambassador Froman had previously confirmed the Obama Administration’s commitment to renew AGOA before its exiration date. In support of renewal, the USTR has said that it wants to take an in-depth look at what has worked for African exporters and for U.S. businesses over the 13 years of the program’s existence, and what will need to be improved.

To support this process, the USITC has been requested to conduct the following four investigations:

 AGOA: Trade and Investment Performance Overview: Focus will include:

  • performance of the non-crude petroleum sectors, primarily agriculture and manufacturing, under AGOA;
  • identification of products with the potential for integration into regional or global supply chains or export to the United States;
  • AGOA impact on the business and investment climate in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Examination of reciprocal trade agreements signed by sub-Saharan African countries, benefits, and implications for AGOA

The results of this investigation will be submitted to USTR on April 17, 2014, and released to the public.

AGOA: Economic Effects of Providing Duty-Free Treatment for Imports: This investigation will assess the economic effects on U.S. industries that produce like or directly competitive products and on U.S. consumers of providing duty-free treatment for AGOA imports that are already eligible for duty-free treatment, as well as an expanded list of imported goods.

This report will also be delivered to USTR on April 17, 2014 but will not be released to the public.

U.S. AGOA Rules of Origin: Possible Changes to Promote Regional Integration and Increase Exports to the United States: This investigation will identify possible changes to the rules of origin under AGOA that could have the potential to promote regional integration and increase exports to the United States, and the leading manufactured or processed goods (non-petroleum) which might benefit from such changes.

This report will be delivered to USTR on April 30, 2014 and will not be released to the public.

 EU-South Africa FTA: Impact on U.S. Exports to South Africa: This investigation will:

  • Assess the impact of the EU-South Africa free trade agreement on U.S. exports to South Africa; and
  • Identify the U.S. sectors/products with potential for increased U.S. exports if South Africa reduces its tariffs for those U.S. products to the tariff levels of the EU-South Africa FTA.

This report will be delivered to USTR on April 17, 2014 and will not be released to the public.

Opportunity to Comment & Participate in Public Hearings:

The USITC will nevertheless hold one public hearing in connection with all four investigations on January 14, 2014. Requests to appear at the hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 p.m. on December 13, 2013.

The USITC also welcomes written submissions for the record for all four investigations. Written submissions should be submitted at the earliest practical date but no later than 5:15 p.m. on January 21, 2014.

Additional details are available here.

The results of these investigations will be used to support AGOA renewal and such issues as: expanding country eligibility for African exporters; expanding eligibility for African exports; provision of technical assistance to facilitate export diversification under AGOA; and simplifying the rules of origin.

African exporters, make your voice heard. Contact us for assistance in preparing your submission.