SA gets “political commitment” to be included in AGOA
President Jacob Zuma says government has received a political commitment from the United States government that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) would be signed with the inclusion of South Africa.
The President said this when he responded to questions for oral reply at the National Assembly on Thursday.
National Freedom Party MP Professor Nhlanhla Khubisa had asked the President if the South African delegation that attended the AGOA Summit in Washington in August had drawn any lessons or reached any agreements that would benefit Africa and South Africa.
“In the main… we communicated intensively the importance of the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act to our country and to Africa.
“South Africa has benefitted immensely from AGOA, with 95 percent of our exports having entered the US through preferential treatment under AGOA.
“We were pleased to secure a political commitment from the US government for the renewal of AGOA with the inclusion of South Africa.
“We will continue to engage with the US Administration and the US Congress in this regard,” he said.
Leading up to the AGOA Summit last year, several media reported that there was a possibility that the act would be renewed with the exclusion of South Africa.
The President’s reply will come as good news to South Africa, which enjoys a lot of trade ties that have led to 600 US companies investing in the country, creating thousands of jobs in the process.
The President said these ties were further deepened during various engagements with government and businesses during the summit.
“At a bilateral level, our formal bilateral discussions with US Vice President Joe Biden and informal discussions with President Barrack Obama and senior members of the US Congress set the tone for further discussions and cooperation in many areas.
“The visit was a success as well in terms of promoting US-South Africa trade and investment ties.
“We had productive sessions of marketing the country with the US-South Africa Chamber of Commerce and a meeting with the Washington National Press Club,” he said.
The President also said, meanwhile, that Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies is currently in the US holding talks over export markets.
“As we speak, the Minister of Trade and Industry is in the US in negotiations about South African poultry exports into the US market.”
President Zuma said, meanwhile, that the African continent benefited from the summit through agreements in the field of trade and peace and security.
He said this contributed positively to the promotion of Africa’s regional integration and development goals.
“Another significant outcome, among others, is the support of the peace and security measures that Africa wants to institute, for example, the African rapid response mechanism and standby force.
“We emphasised our guiding principle of African solutions to African problems. This means that any support would need to be African-developed and African-led,” he said.