African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Action Coalition has urged US House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade to resist extending AGOA’s apparel preferences to beneficiaries beyond those originally intended. The coalition states, proposed changes to the US Generalized System of Preferences program (GSP) threaten to vitiate key provisions of the Act that has been the cornerstone of US economic engagement with the nations of Africa since the past 20 years.
If adopted when GSP is renewed, these changes would cause gratuitous hardship in a region already reeling from the impact of COVID-19. Also they would also severely damage Africa’s standing in as a strategic development and trade partner and would hand global competitors, China in particular, a massive free win, said the coalition.
From its inception, GSP has specifically excluded preferential treatment for textiles and apparel. This has given US policy makers a powerful tool to advance US goals and interests by granting exceptions designed to help selected trading partners to attract investment in their textile and clothing sectors in order to fight destabilizing poverty and grow as markets for US goods and services, it added.