US-Africa trade pact AGOA at risk? African leaders raise alarm

The Joe Biden administration is eager to start discussing how it can apply its ‘build back better’ mantra to commerce with Africa when it virtually hosts the continent’s trade ministers this week. For their part, America’s African partners want to make sure that Washington doesn’t bulldoze their two-decade-old, duty-free access to the US market in the process. 

Growing tensions behind the scenes will hit the spotlight on Wednesday and Thursday when the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR) convenes the annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) ministerial. With the unilateral trade preferences program up for renewal in 2025, Washington’s stated desire to negotiate two-way trade deals, which also benefit US exports, has been raising alarm bells in boardrooms and government offices across Africa.

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