The United States may jeopardize its relationship with 40 countries in sub-Saharan Africa if Congress does not act urgently to extend a provision of a trade law which allows African-manufactured apparel to be more easily exported to US markets.
From our top partner allAfrica
There are six days remaining for legislative business in the Congress prior to the 2012 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum that will take place on June 14 and 15 in Washington, DC.
Failure to extend the provision, arising either from inertia or deliberate inaction by some members of Congress, will embarrass the United States when trade ministers from African nations are convened to discuss the future of AGOA and their countries' trade relationships with the US.
No main course
How can the United States bring together leaders from throughout Africa to discuss the first-ever trade relationship that it initiated and is touted as being vital to US-African relations, while, at the same time, failing to pass a key provision that puts in jeopardy nearly 300,000 jobs on the continent and business for American retailers as well? It is comparable to inviting guests to a dinner and failing to serve the main course.
This failure to act comes at a time when other countries, such as China, India, Brazil and the European Union, are aggressively seeking to advance their interests on the continent by negotiating trade relationships and making investments in sectors ranging from energy to transportation to agriculture to construction and manufacturing.
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