What is AGOA?
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was signed into law by President Clinton on May 18, 2000 as Title 1 of The Trade and Development Act of 2000. The Act offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies and build free markets. AGOA aims to expand U.S. trade and investment with Sub-Saharan Africa, to stimulate economic growth, to promote a high-level dialogue on trade and investment-related issues, to encourage economic integration, and to facilitate sub-Saharan Africa’s integration into the global economy. As of January 2010, 38 sub-Saharan African countries were eligible for AGOA benefits.
At the center of AGOA are substantial trade preferences that, coupled with those under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), allow all marketable goods produced in AGOA-eligible countries to enter the U.S. market duty-free.
The U.S. Government provides assistance — most notably through four regional trade hubs — to African governments and businesses that are seeking to make the most of AGOA and to diversify their exports to the United States.
The U.S. Congress requires the President to determine annually whether sub-Saharan African countries are eligible for AGOA benefits based on progress in meeting certain criteria, including progress toward the establishment of a market-based economy, rule of law, economic policies to reduce poverty, protection of internationally recognized worker rights, and efforts to combat corruption.
Since its inception, AGOA has helped to increase U.S. two-way trade with sub-Saharan Africa.