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AAFA supports call to extend duty-free deal with African markets

By Rachel Douglass


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AGOA Forum 2023. Credits: AGOA.

The American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) has welcomed and expressed support for a new bill attempting to extend the currently in place African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which is set to expire September 2025.

The AGOA Renewal and Improvement Act of 2024, introduced by Senators Chris Coons and James Risch, calls on the original AGOA to be extended a further 16 years, which would take it from 2025 to 2041.

According to the proposal, the reinstatement of the Act would “provide businesses the certainty needed to invest in sub-Saharan Africa”, while “further supporting economic growth and development in the region”.

Currently, the AGOA provides duty-free access to the US market for eligible African countries, lowering the cost of trade and creating “valuable opportunities” for US businesses and consumers while “promoting sustainable economic growth”.

However, the latest proposal hopes to further efforts by introducing a more streamlined version of the AGOA eligibility review process, integrating the African Continental Free Trade Agreement to support the development of intra-African supply chains and incentivising beneficiaries to help increase exports under the programme.

In a release, AAFA president and CEO, Steve Lamar, said: "As companies work to diversify out of China today more than ever, immediate and long-term renewal of AGOA for a 16-year period would be incredibly impactful and timely.

"AGOA renewal would bring quality work opportunities for African workers, many of whom are women, as companies commit to retain or grow orders from African factories as vital partners in their sourcing matrices."