Ghana’s deputy trades minister pushes for extension of AGOA

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Ghana’s deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Nana Ama Dokua Asiamah-Adjei is supporting the push for the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to enhance trade between Ghana and the US.

A United States Trade Act enacted on 18 May 2000 as Public Law 106 of the 200th Congress, the AGOA legislation has been renewed on different occasions, most recently in 2015, when its period of validity was extended to September 2025.

The legislation significantly enhances market access to the US for qualifying Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. It does that by allocating a special programme indicator to approximately 6,800 tariff lines in the US tariff schedule, which allows US importers to clear such goods – sourced from eligible African countries – duty-free under AGOA.

During the 20th AGOA Forum in South Africa, Mrs. Asiamah-Adjei highlighted the significance of the extension to Africa’s drive for industrialization.

Recalling 23 years ago, when Africa did not have a lot of industries, the coming in of AGOA, according to the deputy minister, served as a catalyst for Africa to “start building our own local industries.”

“For us in Ghana, our initial focus under AGOA was on the low-hanging fruits, such as textiles, garments, horticultural products, and artisanal items. As we speak, we have made significant progress in developing our industries and increasing our value addition processes, and I believe there is more we can achieve.

“And at this point, we firmly believe that the path for Africa to follow is industrialisation, creating jobs for our teeming youth and [tapping] into the vast human resources we have within our population. So, we believe that a sufficiently extended AGOA agreement will help us realise the dream we’ve always had for Africa,” Asiamah-Adjei, who doubles as the MP for Akuapem North, told SABC on the sidelines of the conference.

“It’s not just about extending the agreement for a longer duration; we also need to work on improving our utilisation, enhancing our digitalisation, and establishing a clear roadmap to track and evaluate the processes through which we can leverage the opportunities AGOA offers,” she said.

Asiamah-Adjei further called for enhanced partnership with the USA to position Africa as an alternative industrial hub, supplying products where “we have a competitive advantage in production that the USA does not.”

In pursuing this goal, she urged leaders on the continent to create bespoke measures and strategies to “enhance our value addition processes, invest in training and workshops, and cultivate the necessary attitudinal change to understand that importing everything we need is not the way forward.”

Asiamah-Adjei attended the trade forum with the CEO of Ghana Export Promotion Authority (GEPA), Dr Afua Asabea Asare, Mickson Opoku, the head of multilateral, regional and bilateral trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Cynthia Dzokoto, Ghana Trade attaché to Washington DC.

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