Building capacity to help Africa trade better

US trade policy under President Trump and its implications for Africa

Trade Briefs

US trade policy under President Trump and its implications for Africa

US trade policy under President Trump and its implications for Africa

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President Donald Trump was elected on a platform that emphasized bringing jobs back to the United States (US) that had been lost to foreign competition. A recent report from the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) indicates that President Trump intends to deliver on a trade policy that is “freer and fairer for all Americans.” The Trump Administration’s trade policy is mainly focused on economic growth, job creation, strengthening the US manufacturing base, defence, and agricultural and service exports. To meet these objectives, the Administration intends to focus on bilateral trade agreements and to re-negotiate or revise trade agreements that do not meet the current US goals. This trade brief discusses some of the potential implications of this new agenda for US trade policy towards Africa.

The USTR report reinforces President Trump’s “America First” approach to both domestic and international politics, which could have implications for America’s relationship with the World Trade Organization (WTO), China, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and Africa. At this point, the effects of President Trump’s trade policy agenda for Africa remain unclear. There is certainly no indication in the USTR report, like there is for Mexico and China, that reassessing trade with Africa is of the utmost importance. It seems highly unlikely that AGOA will be dismantled any time before the extension is up in 2026. At present, time is the only factor capable of exposing the direction in which President Donald Trump will steer US trade policy.

Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged. All views and opinions expressed remain solely those of the authors and do not purport to reflect the views of tralac.


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