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Ghana companies need to explore AGOA pact better

"While opportunities are rife, Ghanaian companies and artisans are not able to explore US markets as expected. Owing to this, US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P Jackson, has made repeated attempts to leverage the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to expand their businesses and contribute more to the growth of the Ghanaian economy. For him, the potential under the Act was enormous, he urged local business to ensure that they took advantage of it to their benefit."

 

 

Ghana companies need to explore AGOA pact better

 

While opportunities are rife, Ghanaian companies and artisans are not able to explore US markets as expected. Owing to this, US Ambassador to Ghana, Robert P Jackson, has made repeated attempts to leverage the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to expand their businesses and contribute more to the growth of the Ghanaian economy. For him, the potential under the Act was enormous, he urged local business to ensure that they took advantage of it to their benefit.

Ghana companies need to explore AGOA

 

The entire discussion was a part of the Annual General Meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce (AMCHAM) Ghana, in Accra held recently. He also gave the assurance that there was not likely to be any changes to the Act under the administration of billionaire businessman, Donald Trump. The world is presently sitting on tenterhooks awaiting to see what new policies Trump will introduce and what he will review or scrap. During his political campaign for votes, the US President-elect made a number of comments regarding foreign policy and trade treaties, issues which many are not clear his next line of action should be assume the reins of government come next year.

Reaping the benefits of AGOA advantage

Ghana has enjoyed access to the US market under the AGOA since its inception in 2000. AGOA presents a significant opportunity for Ghana to increase its manufacturing capacity and diversify its exports. Majority of the country’s exports to the US are raw materials, with cocoa and wood being top exported products. A lack of supply capacity, lack of financial resources and AGOA’s ad hoc implementation has led to its underutilisation.

AGOA is the US government’s signature trade initiative with sub-Saharan Africa, with 37 beneficiary countries enjoying duty-free status for exports into the US. AGOA waives duties on more than 6,400 products exports from eligible African countries to the US. AGOA has recently been renewed for the next 10 years by the US Congress.

As of June 2015, AGOA-eligible countries had exported nearly $480billion worth of goods to the US. By providing duty-free access to the US market, AGOA has succeeded in helping eligible nations grow, diversify their exports to the US, and create employment and inclusive economic growth although there is still much left to be desired. Under AGOA, eligible countries can export products including value-added manufactured items such as textiles to the US duty-free.

Ghana’s export of apparel and clothing under the AGOA has expanded from less than $250,000 in 2001 to more than $9million last year. Melinda Tabler-Stone - Charge d’ Affaires at the US Embassy at a workshop in May this year highlighted that with investment partnerships with US companies and technical assistance from USAID, we fully expect to see another large increase in exports in 2016 with the potential to provide employment opportunities for thousands of people.

 
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