The DA notes the official confirmation by United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai and Minister Ebrahim Patel of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition (DTIC) that Johannesburg will host the forthcoming African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Summit from November 2-4.
This announcement dispels prior concerns about the relocation of the summit to a different country and affirms the United States’s willingness to consider South Africa’s role as a significant player in the AGOA landscape.
The summit will assemble representatives from respective AGOA-eligible countries, the United States, key regional economic organizations, private sectors, civil societies, and labor unions. Agenda items will explore avenues for fortifying U.S.-Sub-Saharan Africa trade relations and strategies for sustainable, resilient economic development.
While this is a positive development, it does occur against a backdrop of local economic fragility and residual diplomatic tension between South Africa and the United States. It is imperative to address these diplomatic wrinkles as our economic stability is tethered to robust trade partnerships, particularly with the United States.
AGOA facilitates privileged market access for South Africa to the gargantuan US market. This preferential access spans a diverse array of goods that benefit an array of industries.
This arrangement not only undergirds our export sector but also injects tens of billions of Rands into the economy annually and thereby secures tens of thousands of jobs. 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.
The DA has therefore been proactive in safeguarding South Africa’s future within AGOA. Our submission to the U.S. Trade Representative in July presented a compelling case for South Africa’s AGOA renewal in 2024. In the upcoming months, we will continue to lobby for an extension past the anticipated 2025 renewal date.
As we approach the summit, the DA is committed to engaging in comprehensive dialogues with both domestic and international stakeholders. Our objective will be to articulate how a post-ANC Government will reinvigorate and solidify the bilateral relationship between the United States and South Africa.
Only a DA-led government can guarantee the stability and enhancement of U.S.-South Africa relations and thereby ensure that the South African economy remains globally relevant and competitive. This commitment is a testament to our unyielding dedication to the welfare of all South Africans.