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South Africa Gets Extra Time For US AGOA Negotiations

by Lorys Charalambous, Tax-News.com, Cyprus

05 January 2016


Trade negotiators have been granted more time – beyond the January 4 deadline that was set by President Barack Obama – to discuss the suspension of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) duty exemptions for agricultural goods imported into the United States from South Africa.

The AGOA allows almost all goods produced in AGOA-eligible countries (approximately 6,800 items) to enter the US market tariff-free. It would have expired on September 30 this year but was recently extended for a further ten years.

On November 5 last year, President Obama informed US Congress that he intended to take the action "because South Africa continues to impose several longstanding barriers to US trade, including barriers affecting certain US agricultural exports." Those barriers affect poultry, beef, and pork products, and involve issues of a sanitary and phytosanitary nature.

On January 4, South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said negotiations were still ongoing between South Africa and the United States to address outstanding AGOA issues. He added that "considerable progress has been recorded … on concluding outstanding issues," although no final agreements have yet been reached in the talks.

Davis disclosed that about ZAR25bn (USD1.6bn) of South Africa's ZAR70bn annual exports to the United States have been traded within the AGOA, and that some 62,000 jobs are at risk in the country if AGOA benefits are withdrawn.

TAGS: South Africa | tax | tariffs | trade treaty | agreements | United States | tax breaks | import duty | trade | Africa

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