The AGOA Saga in a Trade Governance Context

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The AGOA Saga in a Trade Governance Context

The AGOA Saga in a Trade Governance Context

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Working Papers ~ Gerhard Erasmus

The facts pertaining to the recent difficulties between the United States and South Africa about the latter’s continued enjoyment of the trade preferences of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) were well covered in the media. The trade governance context, on the other hand, has received less attention.

The legal principles that apply to this matter and how South Africa’s continued participation under AGOA will be made conditional on prior changes to South African trade measures affecting American exports, have, for example, not been explained. Why were political stakeholders and lobby groups so actively involved? And why has it been so difficult to resolve this issue?

This paper takes a look at these issues within a broader trade perspective. It discusses the “governance” context of the AGOA regime as it now pertains to South Africa. We also look at possible lessons to be learned from the AGOA renewal debate, the conditions set for South Africa’s continued participation, and how the agreement reached will be implemented. These developments raise questions about future trade relationships between these two countries and how to manage them.


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