Charles Brewer, managing director of DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa, says that the company has seen significant volume growth in the region since the introduction of AGOA in 2000, and that DHL and others support renewal of the Act when it expires next year.
“Trade lanes in Africa have increased significantly as a result of relieved trade barriers, which have had a positive impact on many local businesses,” said Brewer. “A key driver of this growth has been the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which has stimulated trade and investment between Africa and the United States.”
Figures released by the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration report that in 2013, U.S. imports from Sub-Saharan Africa, under AGOA, totaled $39.3bn. The top three trade lanes to the U.S. from the Sub Saharan Africa region originated from Nigeria, Angola and South Africa, which accounted for $11.72bn, $8.74bn and $8.48bn, respectively.
Brewer explains that the Act offers tangible incentives to approximately 40 Sub-Saharan African beneficiary countries, such as duty- and quota-free access to the U.S. market for certain product lines. “AGOA has facilitated trade between Sub-Saharan Africa and the U.S. by enabling the trade process, as well as successfully promoting the integration of Sub-Saharan Africa into the global economy. These favourable trade conditions have also allowed the region to maximize the opportunities available and increase exports,” says Brewer.
Brewer says that since the introduction of AGOA, DHL Africa has seen an increase in primary trading sectors like manufacturing, apparel and footwear – all directly supported by AGOA. In addition, they have also witnessed an increase in secondary sectors that are dependent on agriculture, petroleum and natural gases.
Due to expire in 2015, it is the decision of the U.S. Congress on whether to extend or amend the AGOA agreement. Brewer says that Sub-Saharan Africa’s growth is still dependent on trade facilitation and enhancing both intra-regional trade and global trade. “While trade between the U.S. and Sub-Saharan Africa has increased significantly in the last few years, there is still much room for growth.” In 2013, U.S. imports from Sub-Saharan Africa represented only 1.7 percent of total U.S. imports from the world, according to Brewer.
“Africa is the ‘last frontier’,” he says. “The more we collectively focus on connecting it with the world, the more sustainable its economies will be and the more jobs we will create – creating a virtuous cycle of success.”
Source: DHL Express
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