U.S.-Africa Trade Reauthorization Bill Passes Both Congressional Houses

The Honorable Karen Bass (D-Calif.) and Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations offers opening remarks.

The Honorable Karen Bass (D-Calif.) offers opening remarks at AAI’s Speaker Series panel discussion on AGOA on Capitol Hill in June 2015.

The House of Representatives passed by a bipartisan vote on June 11, legislation for a 10-year extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). In May, the Senate approved the “Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015”, which included reauthorization of AGOA.

Signed into law in May 2000, AGOA was enacted to expand U.S. trade and investment with eligible sub-Saharan African countries to fuel economic growth and promote greater economic integration into the global economy.

Bill passage in both houses of Congress reaffirms that AGOA is the centerpiece of trade relations between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa, said Austin R. Cooper, Jr., AAI’s Government Affairs Representative.

“It also signifies a bipartisan consensus for stronger commercial ties with the region,” said Cooper.

House and Senate conferees will meet in the coming weeks to iron out any differences in the Senate and House bills. The final U.S.-Africa trade bill must pass both congressional houses before the legislation is sent to President Obama for signing into law.

Given President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in July, Cooper hopes that Congress will take quick action on AGOA, which is set to expire this September.

Since it’s enactment in 2001, AGOA has significantly increase African exports to the U.S. and led to job creation in the U.S. and on the African continent.

According to a 2013 study by the African Diplomatic Corp, AGOA has generated 100,000 in the U.S. and 350,000 direct jobs and 1 million indirect jobs in sub-Saharan Africa.

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