DA’s bid to secure AGOA renewal for South Africa submitted

Issued by Dr Dion George MP – DA Shadow Minister of Finance
07 Jul 2023 in News
  • The DA has submitted a strong case to the US Trade Representative to secure South Africa’s renewal in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
  • South Africa’s eligibility is at risk due to the government’s response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
  • Under the DA’s watch, these issues will be rectified and  South Africa’s economic relevance and competitiveness will be restored.

Please find attached a soundbite by Dr Dion George MP.

The DA has made a submission to the United States Trade Representative which seeks to secure South Africa’s renewal for the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in 2024.

This is delivered in line with the imminent critical deliberations led by the Trade Policy Staff Committee. Their evaluation of South Africa’s eligibility to maintain AGOA’s beneficial status is projected to culminate by year’s end. A broad spectrum of policy and societal issues, including trade and investment governance, workers’ rights, and human rights, will underpin these considerations.

South Africa’s AGOA eligibility facilitates our nation’s privileged access to the gargantuan US market, enabling the duty-free export of a myriad of goods, from vehicles to citrus fruit. This legislation buttresses our export industry, safeguards tens of thousands of jobs and pumps tens of billions of Rands into the economy yearly.

The DA’s submission is founded on empirical evidence, corroborating South Africa’s compliance with AGOA prerequisites. It is a cogent case for the continuation of this trade agreement, which would sustain economic activity and job creation into the future.

Following this, we will present our case to the US Congress, lobbying for the extension of South Africa’s participation in AGOA beyond 2025.

Notwithstanding this optimism, South Africa confronts a tenuous economic landscape. Increasingly, our stability hinges upon the robustness of our trade partnerships, particularly with the United States. The possible revocation of our AGOA eligibility portends a chilling future, one marked by trade tariffs that would sabotage our competitiveness on the global market.

Exacerbating our economic challenges, the ANC government’s response to Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 has strained our international relations, particularly with the US, EU, and UK, who collectively receive 36% of South Africa’s exports. The government’s purported ‘non-aligned’ position appears as a thinly veiled endorsement of Russian aggression, thereby contravening US security interests.

This, coupled with the alleged illicit arms transfer to the Russian vessel ‘Lady R’, has aroused suspicion and criticism in Washington, as reflected in a bipartisan letter advocating for the relocation of this year’s AGOA Summit which would see South Africa as a host.

It is in our national interest to remedy these diplomatic transgressions promptly, lest South Africa face further alienation from the international community and global financial markets. The ANC government must demonstrate an unwavering commitment to adhering to AGOA criteria and reestablishing a ‘non-aligned’ position.

Only a DA government can offer the assurance and commitment required in these testing times. It is our promise that under our watch, South Africa’s economy will remain internationally relevant and globally competitive. This is not a mere political statement, but a reflection of our unwavering dedication to the welfare of all South Africans.