By Etaarifa Contributor
Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) has welcomed the extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for another 15 years, KAM CEO Designate Ms. Phyllis Wakiaga has said.
The re-authorization of AGOA comes as a sigh of relief to the eligible countries in Africa such as Kenya that trade with the US. “Our export business will continue uninterrupted,” said Ms. Wakiaga. “The renewal of AGOA is the greatest news for countries which have been utilizing AGOA, especially for the Apparel Export sub-sector in Kenya as this has cleared uncertainty and confusion that surrounded this renewal process.”
Following today’s signing of the Preferences Bill, HR 1295 to law by President Barack Obama at the White House, AGOA has been extended to 2025. The HR 1295 was approved by Congress on June 25, 2015 and was awaiting President Obama’s Signature.
Ms. Wakiaga has applauded the U.S. Government for the timely passage of AGOA, before the 30th September 2015 deadline. “We recognize the Obama’s Administration for its steadfast support for the re-authorization of AGOA, and for the relentless advocacy by all stakeholders that went towards this realisation.”
Mr. Jaswinder Bedi, the Kenyan Champion and Ambassador for AGOA and former KAM Chairman has challenged the Textile and Apparel industry in Kenya to work towards delivering 100,000 jobs and $1billion revenue in 3 years as severally discussed with the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Industrialization and Enterprise Development, Mr. Adan Mohammed. Mr. Bedi is also the current Chairman of the African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation (ACTIF)
“It is good to note that most of the exporting apparel companies already had orders which were intended to run beyond 30th September 2015 deadline and hence the local companies were in a dilemma on how to convince the buyers that they would shield them from paying duties by taking that responsibility of settling any duty that could have been attracted to their goods beyond 30th September 2015,” said KAM in a statement.
African economic operators are now expected to work towards addressing the underlying challenges that have prevented them in the last 15 years from seizing the opportunity to realize better business with United States of America. According to KAM, Kenya in particular must work towards expanding the range of products that are currently being exported to US market under AGOA. “We must go beyond the apparel export and strategize on ways we can take advantage of approximately 6400 products that are currently eligible for AGOA,” added Ms. Wakiaga.
Gabon is set to host the 14th Edition of AGOA International Forum from August 29 to 31, 2015. The meeting that will give the opportunity to the African economic operators to sell their products on the American market under the theme: “AGOA 15 years: sustainability of the business and investment partnership between the United States and Africa”.
“Now that AGOA is reauthorized, our work as KAM and the Private Sector is to ensure that our role in the implementation of AGOA is not eroded, and that we maintain and expand our private sector mandated role towards realization of AGOA maximum utilization in the next 10 years.”