PORT LOUIS, Mauritius — Government and business officials attending a trade forum here reacted warmly to President Bush’s statement that he would ask Congress to extend the African Growth & Opportunity Act past its current expiration date in 2008.

With the clock ticking down to 2005, when World Trade Organization nations will drop quotas on textiles and apparel, African attendees at the AGOA Forum said their nations need more time to develop the experience and economies of scale necessary to compete with manufacturers in Asia and elsewhere in the world.

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