USA extends meat import privileges for African exporters

By Ed Zwirn, in New York

- Last updated on GMT

AGOA was first approved in 2000
AGOA was first approved in 2000

Related tags South africa United states Us Poultry

With a compromise over the US-South Africa poultry trade having paved the way, the US House of Representatives’ overwhelming approval of a Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015, which includes re-authorisation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), means that African exporters of all sorts of goods to the US should enjoy continued duty-free access. That includes meat and livestock products.

The news follows an announcement that the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council (USAPEEC) and the South African Poultry Association had agreed that an 80 cent/kg "anti-dumping duty"​ imposed by South Africa on US chicken legs and thighs 15 years ago should be scrapped. "We are pleased that both sides could come to an agreement that is beneficial to both the US and South Africa,"​ said Tom Super, spokesman for the USA’s National Chicken Council.

The House’s 397-32 approval of a 10-year AGOA extension on 11 June follows an overwhelming US Senate’s 97-1 yes vote and should ensure final passage of the law, which still must see technical differences between the House and Senate bills reconciled, ahead of President Barack Obama’s trip to Kenya in July.

AGOA was first approved in 2000 and allows eligible Sub-Saharan African countries to export duty-free goods to the US. It is currently set to expire on 30 September.

The largest beneficiary of the AGOA structure is South Africa, with the US International Trade Commission reporting that South Africa exported US$3.1 billion under the set-up to the US in 2014.

Overcoming a key obstacle in the way of AGOA approval, US legislators compromised over the issue of US poultry producers’ access to South Africa by requiring President Obama to commission a review of relatively wealthy South Africa’s participation in the programme within 30 days of the extension.

The extension, as it is currently written, would be effective to 30 September 2025, and boost the roughly 4,600 items covered under the US Generalised System of Preferences to more than 6,400. It also would give the US more flexibility in dealing with countries not meeting eligibility requirements and mandate that President Obama give countries in question 60-day warnings if their preferences are to be withdrawn.

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