President Barack Obama on Wednesday, at the White House, signed the Bill authorizing the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) the non-reciprocal trade preference programme for another 15 years which allows eligible countries from Sub-Saharan Africa to export some goods to the US without paying duty was welcomed by the Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM).
Kamâ€™s CEO designate Ms Phyllis Wakiaga welcomed the gesture and said that re-authorization of the trade agreement would benefit eligible countries like Kenya that trade with the US. Their export business will continue uninterrupted. The renewal is good news to sectors like apparel manufacturers that have been exporting to the US. Signing of the Preferences Bill, HR 1295 to law by President Obama has now extended the deal to 2025. The Bill was approved by the US Congress last month and was awaiting Obamaâ€™s signature to become law.
Wakiaga applauded the US government for the timely passage of the Agoa Bill. The current deal would have expired on September 30 this year. They recognize Obamaâ€™s administration for its steadfast support for the re-authorization of AGOA, and the relentless advocacy by stakeholders that facilitated the process, said Kam in a statement.
READY ORDERS Agoaâ€™s ambassador Mr Jaswinder Bedi challenged stakeholders in the textile and apparel industry to work towards delivering 100,000 jobs and $1bn (Sh98 billion) revenue to the Kenyan economy in the next three years.
He said that most of the companies that export apparel already had orders, which were intended to run beyond the deadline that had been set for expiry of the previous agreement. Participating countries must now address the challenges that have prevented them from seizing the opportunity to realize better business with the US in the last 15 years.
Kenya, in particular need to work towards expanding the range of products that are currently being exported to the US market under AGOA. They need to go beyond the apparel export and strategize how to take advantage of the approximately 6,400 products that are currently eligible for Agoa.
Gabon is set to host the 14th Edition of Agoa International Forum from August 29 to 31, 2015. The meeting will give African economic operators the opportunity to sell their products on the American market under the theme â€œAgoa 15 yearsâ€.
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