The Monitor (Kampala)

7 November 2011

East Africa: U.S. Asks Region to Jointly Market AGOA

The US has urged East Africa to jointly market the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) following the slow response to the initiative.

The remarks come on the back of requests from Sub-Saharan Africa asking for the extension of the Agoa initiative from 2015 to 2025 to enable countries benefit from the duty free and quota free access to the US market.

Ms Florizelle Liser, the assistant US trade representative for Africa who led a delegation of trade representatives to Uganda, said East Africa should form the East Africa Trade Treaty that will help to promote, support and market the initiative.

She said: "An EAC treaty will set a strategic approach with the people who have competitive products since it will have common roles about trade."

Uganda is one of the countries that have not performed well under Agoa. However countries including Kenya, Ghana, South Africa, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Mauritius, have registered some success due to the full backing of their governments, both through the private and public sector.

Need for dialogue

Ms Liser said: "We need to dialogue with Africa on the extension of Agoa. Otherwise, what is the value of extending the innitiative if there is no tangible benefits."

Ms Susan Muhwezi, the Uganda special presidential assistant on Agoa and trade, said Uganda is not doing well under the initiative because the programme is insufficiently funded.

She said the government needs to support the initiative so as to realise benefits as well as achieving growth.

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