07 Jun Patel again expresses optimism that South Africa will retain AGOA status
Trade, Competition and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel has again expressed optimism that South Africa will be able to convince the US Congress to extend South Africa’s designation as an African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) beneficiary beyond 2025, when the unilateral trade programme is due to expire.
South Africa’s continued designation as an Agoa beneficiary has come into question in recent months, owing to diplomatic tensions over an alleged sale of arms to Russia by South Africa in December.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed a three-member panel – comprising Judge PMD Mojapelo (chairperson), Advocate Leah Gcabashe SC, and Enver Surty – to probe the circumstances of the docking of the Russian cargo ship the Lady R in Simon’s Town, as well as the alleged loading of cargo on to the vessel.
The panel, which was appointed on May 28, is expected to finalise its investigation within six weeks of its appointment and submit a report to the President within two weeks of concluding its work.
Responding to a question posed in Parliament on June 7 by the Democratic Alliance’s Dean Macpherson, Patel reiterated that South Africa valued its trade relationship with the US, including the 18% of trade conducted under Agoa.
The balance of South Africa’s trade with America gains access under the Most-Favoured Nation terms available to World Trade Organisation members.
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