Ghana’s export of apparel and clothing under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has expanded from less than US$250,000 in 2001 to more than US$9million last year, the US Embassy has said.
“With investment partnerships with US companies and technical assistance from USAID, we fully expect to see another large increase in exports in 2016 with the potential to provide employment opportunities for thousands of people,” Melinda Tabler-Stone – Charge d’Afffaires at the US Embassy – said at a sensitisation workshop on exporting to the US under AGOA.
“The US government, through USAID, is working closely with industries such as the apparel sector to help realise Ghana’s potential and we are seeing encouraging signs of progress,” she said.
The workshop was the first in a series of AGOA outreach events organised by the AGOA Trade Resource Centre at the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in collaboration with the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) and the USAID West Africa Trade and Investment Hub.
Melinda Tabler-Stone said: “AGOA has been a centre-piece of trade relationship in Africa over the past fifteen years and this extension provides Ghana and other African countries a partnership and an opportunity to attract new long-term investments”.
AGOA is the US government’s signature trade initiative with sub-Saharan Africa, with thirty-seven beneficiary countries enjoying duty-free status for exports into the United States.
AGOA waives duties on more than 6,400 products exports from eligible African countries to the United States, and the event also served as a platform for the Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) to publicise a series of technical workshop activities mandated under the US$$14,800 USAID grant.
AGOA has recently been renewed for the next 10 years by the U.S. Congress. The U.S government enacted AGOA in May 2000 to give preferential market access for over 6,000 products from 39 sub-Saharan Africa nations with liberal access to the U.S. market.
As of June 2015, AGOA-eligible countries have exported nearly US$480billion worth of goods to the U.S. under AGOA.
By providing duty-free access to the U.S. market, AGOA has succeeded in helping eligible nations grow, diversify their exports to the United States, and create employment and inclusive economic growth.
Under AGOA, eligible countries can export products including value-added manufactured items such as textiles to the U.S duty-free.
Ms. Tabler-Stone continued: “AGOA has supported thousands of jobs in sub-Saharan Africa, and the United States has benefitted with significant increase in exports since 2000”.
A representative from the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ebenezer Adjirackor, also speaking at the event said: “AGOA is the cornerstone of the United States government’s trade and economic policy toward sub-Saharan Africa, and there has been remarkable growth in the partnership between the US and Africa”.
Mr. Adjirackor added that: “AGOA seeks to provide market access to eligible sub-Saharan African countries to enter the US market. The initiative provides trade preferences for duty-free, quota-free food for market entry into the United States”.
Source: B & FT