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The Mozambican government has recognised that the country is far from taking full advantage of the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), under which a wide range of goods from African countries can enter the United States market free of tariffs and quotas.
Speaking in Maputo on Monday at the launch of a strategy to make use of AGOA in the period 2018-2025, the Minister of Industry and Trade, Ragendra de Sousa, said that only two per cent of Mozambique’s total exports go to the United States.
“This percentage is very low, when compared with the exports of other countries in the region who also benefit from AGOA”, said Sousa.
The new strategy, he continued, stresses measures to ensure that Mozambican businesses know about and understand AGOA, plus a range of actions aimed at increasing exports.
Specific sectors and products that could benefit from AGOA will be identified, he said, and the government will use all available resources to support implementation and dissemination of the strategy so that Mozambican companies may take better advantage of AGOA in coming years.
Preferential trade mechanisms such as AGOA, Sousa said, arise from the belief that developing countries “could free themselves from strong dependence on exports of goods with low added value”. That had not yet happened, and the exports of developing countries “remain concentrated in raw materials”.
US ambassador Dean Pittman told the meeting that “commercial incentives to gain access to the American market will lead to increased investment in Africa, creating more jobs and economic opportunities for all”.
Although AGOA dates from 2000, the American figures are that only one million out of 100 million US dollars worth of Mozambican exports to the US has benefitted from the tariff free access granted by AGOA. (To be more precise, the annual average of exports to the US that benefitted from AGOA between 2014 and 2016 was only 852,000 dollars).
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has worked with the Mozambican government to develop the new strategy.
The sectors it prioritises, which it believes can expand their presence in the US market, include textiles and clothing, specialist and processed foods (such as cashew nuts, macadamia nuts, shelled almonds, peas and cane molasses), and precious metals.
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