Minister Davies arrives in Gabon for AGOA Forum
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies has arrived in Libreville‚ Gabon‚ to attend the 14th African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum that is taking place from 24-27 August 2015. The Forum is being held under the theme “AGOA at 15: Charting for a sustainable US-Africa Trade and Investment Partnership”.
The Forum is an annual event held on a rotating basis between the United States and Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. The 13th AGOA Forum was hosted by the US in Washington in 2014.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), is a unilateral preferential programme for about 6400 tariff lines including those provided by Generalised System of Preference (GSP) that the US offers to 38 African sub-Saharan countries. The current AGOA was going to expire at the end of September 2015 and the congress recently voted for the continuation of the programme for another 15 years with South Africa included as a beneficiary country. However, the new AGOA Act called for out-of-cycle review of the eligibility of South Africa to receive the benefits under AGOA.
Minister Davies says South Africa has made tremendous progress in addressing issues of concerns that were raised by the US and therefore our country continues to adhere to the AGOA eligibility requirements.
Various initiatives have been taken towards resolving market access issues relating to Beef, Pork and Poultry.
“On 24 June 2015, Cabinet took a decision to lift a trade restriction on cattle and products of bovine origin from countries that previously reported Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE), including the US. Minister Zokwana has written to his US counterpart, Secretary Tom Vilsack on 06 August 2015, to announce that South Africa has lifted trade restrictions on cattle and products of bovine origin from the US,” says Minister Davies.
On pork issue, the Minister says the Animal Health Authorities of both governments have been undertaking the necessary technical work to ensure safe trade from at least three diseases, namely, Trichinella, Porcine Reproductive & Respiratory Syndrome (PRRS) and Aujesky.
“The two countries made good progress on certificates on pork destined for unrestricted sale and for further processing. South Africa agreed that a significant number of recognizable pork cuts were categorized as low risk and were now accepted for unrestricted sale conditions. In short, South Africa has made significant progress, and continues to make progress on addressing the market access interests and regulatory concerns of the US on beef, chicken and pork through an agreed framework and existing channels of communication with the United States,” states Minister Davies.
Davies will also have bilateral meetings with the United States Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman, US Congressional delegations, and the Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Cathy Novelli.