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SA presses US extension of tariff-free exports
June 27, 2013, 10:35 am

[Getty Images]

President Obama arrives in South Africa on Friday [Getty Images]

South African President Jacob Zuma and his cabinet will use the upcoming visit of US President Barack Obama to lobby for the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), says Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies.

Davies said AGOA, which allows southern African countries to ship certain products to the United States tariff-free, benefited both Africa and the US.

“South Africa has been a beneficiary of AGOA, but we also think that AGOA is a very significant instrument to benefit the US, not least because it is a widely appreciated measure by the US, which builds the US a high degree of goodwill in its relations with other countries on the African continent,” said the minister.

AGOA expires in 2015, but African countries are pushing for its extension.

“We are, as South Africa, strongly in support of the African position on this, which is to call for a roll-over for a significant period of time,” Davies said.

He referred to an extension period of 15 to 20 years, which formed part of “some discussions in Washington”.

“We think that would provide a degree of certainty; allow some investments on the basis of Agoa activities,” Davies said.

President Obama will visit South Africa on an official visit on June 28-30, the second leg of his three-nation African tour, which also includes Senegal and Tanzania.

The US Strategy Towards sub-Saharan Africa, which was announced in June last year by Obama, acknowledges that Africa is more important than ever to the security and prosperity of the international community – and to the US in particular.

The president arrives in South Africa on Friday.

Source: Agencies