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AGOA Imports Down Sharply in 2014 but Non-Oil Imports Rise

Monday, August 03, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The U.S. submitted to the World Trade Organization recently its annual report on the implementation of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which is required as part of a waiver of WTO rules that would otherwise require the U.S. to extend to all WTO members the duty-free treatment available under AGOA to products from eligible sub-Saharan African countries. Highlights of this report, which covers calendar year 2014, include the following.

- More than 91 percent of U.S. imports from AGOA-eligible countries entered duty-free under AGOA, the Generalized System of Preferences or other zero-tariff provisions.

- U.S. imports under AGOA fell 52.2 percent, from $24.8 billion to $11.8 billion, due primarily to large drops in imports of mineral fuels and motor vehicles and their parts.

- Mineral fuels accounted for nearly 76 percent of U.S. imports under AGOA, down from approximately 86 percent a year earlier. Other leading categories included apparel, iron and steel products, and edible fruits and nuts.

- Non-oil imports under AGOA (not including its related GSP provisions) nearly quadrupled from 2001 to 2014, from $752 million to $2.9 billion.

- Motor vehicles and their parts was the leading AGOA non-oil product sector for most of the 2001-2014 period, with imports under AGOA reaching approximately $1.3 billion in 2014.

- Another leading non-oil sector for this period was apparel, which represented 25 to 79 percent of total non-oil AGOA imports (not including its related GSP provisions) and saw imports rise from $356 million to $985 million. The leading category of apparel in 2014 was woven cotton men’s or boys’ trousers and shorts.

- Eighteen AGOA beneficiary countries have shipped apparel products to the United States under AGOA since 2001, led by Kenya, Lesotho, Mauritius, Tanzania, Ethiopia and Botswana.

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