AFRICAN IMPORTS GROW UNDER PACT
WASHINGTON — Touting the benefits of free trade, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative singled out apparel and textile growth in the sub-Saharan African nations under a one-year-old trade pact.
“Increased trade will help Africa grow economically — after one year, the African Growth and Opportunity Act is already generating tangible results in terms of expanded trade, job creation and technology improvement,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick said in a statement, after a series of meetings with African leaders last week.
Zoellick vowed to work with Africa to launch a new round of trade negotiations within the World Trade Organization later this year. The USTR noted that apparel imports from sub-Saharan Africa are up 30 percent in the first three months of the year, while overall imports from beneficiary countries to the U.S. are up 24 percent.
Kenya estimates that AGOA will create 50,000 new jobs directly and over 100,000 jobs indirectly. South Africa anticipates about $100 million in investments in its textile and apparel facilities and an additional 13,000 jobs, the USTR reported.
AGOA creates jobs not just for Africans, but for Asians brought into the region by Far Eastern-owned companies that have factories on the continent.