The Minister of Industry and Trade of the United Republic of Tanzania, Hon. Ashatu Kijaji, has advocated for the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) well past its current 2025 expiration date, proposing a minimum of 20 additional years.
This recommendation was made during her participation in the AGOA Program implementation discussions at the AGOA Ministers’ Meeting on November 2nd, 2023, in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Minister Kijaji articulated that a prolonged extension, significantly exceeding the typical 10-year span, would be more conducive to fostering sustained investments within African nations, which in turn could yield more substantial and beneficial outcomes for investors.
She underscored the importance of expanding AGOA’s reach to encompass all nations party to the African Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA), suggesting that this would bolster AGOA’s effectiveness and enhance regional cooperation.
Additionally, Kijaji highlighted the potential for AGOA and AfCFTA to work in tandem to broaden AGOA’s impact and to address other pivotal matters, including the service business sector.
Addressing the eligibility criteria for AGOA participation, Minister Kijaji expressed that nations ascending to high-income status should not be precipitously excluded from the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and AGOA initiatives, citing ongoing economic challenges and unemployment issues in these countries.
Furthermore, she proposed a triennial review of the AGOA eligibility criteria, as opposed to the current annual assessment, to instill greater confidence and provide investors with ample time for evaluation and necessary adjustments.
Minister Kijaji also called for the abolition of the Garment Visa stipulations, which she believes complicate and inflate the costs associated with conducting business under AGOA.
While Tanzania has specific concerns that it feels warrant discussion, the minister affirmed the country’s endorsement of all the recommendations put forth, confident that their adoption would lead to enhanced outcomes and increased utilization of AGOA.
Tanzania and AGOA
The US and Tanzania are working to deepen their economic ties through the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which provides preferential access to the US market with duty-free access to the US market for over 6,800 products.
AGOA was authorized by the US Congress in 2000 and has been renewed several times since then.
In 2000, Tanzania exported USD 10 million worth of goods to the US under AGOA. This amount had increased to USD 55.3 million in 2022.