On October 26, 2023, U.S. Assistant Commerce Consultant for Africa Constance Hamilton revealed that the eligibility of the African Development and Alternative Act (AGOA) of 2024 for Ethiopia is “nonetheless pending.” She additionally mentioned it was unlikely to be handed to the US Congress earlier than the twentieth AGOA Discussion board.
The truth that the Workplace of the U.S. Commerce Consultant continues to overview stakeholder feedback, submissions, and suggestions on the AGOA’s 2024 eligibility provisions will make headlines throughout Africa. This creates pointless distraction for the co-hosts of the AGOA Discussion board.
Weeks in the past, the Biden administration briefed congressional committees on their choices concerning the eligibility of the 2024 AGOA. On the time, administration officers reportedly indicated that they might formally transmit the 2024 AGOA determinations to their legislative counterparts by November 1, 2023 .
The Biden administration’s incapacity to fulfill earlier commitments concerning the transmission and public launch of the 2024 AGOA choices will irritate members of Congress who’ve long-standing considerations about how severely the White Home is prioritizing commerce and funding with Africa. It may additionally solid a shadow on the work of the AGOA Discussion board.
The twentieth AGOA Discussion board will happen between November 2 and 4, 2023 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Over the summer time, severe questions arose about whether or not this occasion ought to have been moved within the wake of an accusation of Russian arms trafficking by the United Nations. State Ambassador to South Africa, Reuben Brigety, towards the federal government of South Africa.
In reality, on June 3, 2023, a bipartisan group of members of Congress wrote a letter to the Biden administration, not solely expressing concern over whether or not South Africa had forfeited its eligibility for AGOA by “partaking in actions that undermine the nationwide safety of america or undermine international coverage pursuits.” Additionally they puzzled “whether or not a rustic susceptible to dropping AGOA advantages ought to have the privilege of internet hosting the 2023 AGOA discussion board.”
Since that letter was despatched, there have been a collection of optimistic developments in U.S.-South Africa relations. This included a phone dialog between US Nationwide Safety Advisor Jake Sullivan and South African Nationwide Safety Advisor Sydney Mufamadi. In that decision, they reportedly reaffirmed “the robust partnership between South Africa and america.” Additionally they “recommitted” their governments to advancing “widespread priorities, together with commerce and funding.”
It appears unlikely that South Africa is not going to be eligible for AGOA commerce advantages subsequent 12 months. Nevertheless, the Workplace of the U.S. Commerce Consultant will not be contributing to the development of commerce and funding relations between South Africa and america by leaving this query open within the lead-up to the AGOA discussion board.
The delay in transmitting and publicly releasing the 2024 AGOA choices due to this fact impacts not solely US-Ethiopia relations. It additionally impacts US-South Africa relations.
Picture credit: Ministry of International Affairs through Flickr CC