Sub-Saharan Africa is concerned about the future of a trade pact with the United States after President Donald Trump said it only benefits the corrupt.
President Trump’s new policies may bring an end to the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).
“Most of Agoa imports are petroleum products with the benefits going to national oil companies. Why do we support that massive benefit to corrupt regimes?” he said.
There are now fears that his administration could repeal the Act.
“Agoa was extended for 10 years, and my conviction is that trade policy between the US and sub-Saharan Africa will remain despite the statement. But we need to observe how things develop,” said Richard Kamajugo, TradeMark East Africa senior director of trade and environment.
Enacted in 2000 by the Bill Clinton administration, Agoa allows 39 eligible sub-Saharan Africa countries to export certain goods to the US market duty-free. It was renewed in September 2015 by then president Barack Obama, and is slated to expire in 2025.
Repealing the treaty would be difficult considering that the US Congress must approve. The Act has been the cornerstone of US trade policy with Africa, and over 15 years it led to an increase in trade from about $20 billion to $100 billion in 2008. However, this figure declined to $36 billion in 2015.