Extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act

Bryan Riley /

On June 20, the House Foreign Affairs Committee will hold a hearing on renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Among the textile provisions of AGOA is an important one that permits the use of third country fabrics; that provision will expire in September 2012. AGOA as a whole is set to expire in 2015.

This 10-year-old trade preference program has helped promote private-sector growth in Africa by reducing U.S. barriers to African exports. Sub-Saharan Africa’s overall trade and investment environments have improved over the past decade. Extending and improving AGOA would contribute to continued increases in economic freedom for the region.

AGOA provides preferential access for beneficiaries’ exports to the U.S. from more than 30 sub-Saharan African countries by eliminating almost all tariffs on those products. Americans benefit from lower prices on a wider selection of available merchandise.

Extending AGOA would help to build confidence among all partners by strengthening and deepening democratic free market institutions (both in the government and in civil society) in Africa’s developing countries. Since the only source of genuine and lasting development is from private-sector-led economic growth through trade and investment, strong protection of property rights, and the rule of law, the U.S. Congress should extend AGOA indefinitely.