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U.S. Concerns Regarding South Africa’s Participation in the AGOA
August 7, 2014


    While government officials and members of the private sector want to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act, (AGOA), there are some concerns regarding the trade relationship between the United States and South Africa.  Although South Africa continues to export goods to the United States, the nation has placed restrictions and tariffs on U.S. products.  The European Union also came to bilateral trade agreement with South Africa, which could harm the U.S. economically.  There has been discussion of leaving South Africa out of AGOA and creating a trade agreement between the countries.  

    Many of the concerns stem from the meat industry.  South Africa’s tariffs and regulations impede U.S. exportation of meat to the nation.  Meat producers in the United States voiced their trepidation regarding South Africa’s presence in the AGOA.  On August 4, 2014, the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) submitted comments in respect to the Committee on Ways and Means meeting on AGOA.  While NPPC is supportive of reauthorizing AGOA, they want to exclude South Africa due to the “barriers” the country places on pork.  Despite South Africa’s apprehension about importing U.S. pork due to disease transmission, NPPC affirms that “U.S. pork is completely safe” and the nation’s concerns are unwarranted.  They also state that “AGOA is a one-way free trade [agreement],” where U.S. pork producers cannot sell their products in South Africa.  U.S. poultry exporters are also expressing their frustrations over the antidumping duties South Africa placed on their products.  In January, William Roenigk, from the National Chicken Council, said “let us be clear: The U.S. poultry industry will actively oppose extension of AGOA preferences and benefits to any country, including South Africa, that unfairly excludes U.S. poultry exports from its market.”

    The U.S. government also acknowledged that changes need to be made.  U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman confirmed, “[The U.S. needs to] think through how our trade relationship with Africa might evolve from one built around a unilateral preference program to a more reciprocal set of arrangements over the medium and long-term.”

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