Background

U.S. trade with African Growth and Opportunity Act beneficiary countries has increased over the past two years, a recent report from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative finds.

For more information on how you can take advantage of AGOA benefits, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or via email.

AGOA provides eligible sub-Saharan African countries with duty-free access to the U.S. for more than 1,800 products in addition to the more than 5,100 products eligible under the Generalized System of Preferences. Although GSP expired Dec. 31, 2020, tariff lines covered by GSP remain eligible for AGOA beneficiaries.

USTR’s biennial report on AGOA implementation reviews the status of trade and investment between the U.S. and beneficiary countries, changes in country eligibility, country compliance with the eligibility criteria, regional integration efforts, and U.S. trade capacity building efforts. 

According to the report, total goods trade between the U.S. and sub-Saharan Africa totaled $47.5 billion in 2023, up 6.2 percent from 2021. U.S. goods exports were $18.2 billion, up 10.4 percent, while imports rose 3.8 percent to $29.3 billion. Top U.S. goods exported to sub-Saharan Africa in 2023 included aircraft ($1.8 billion), petroleum products ($1.3 billion), and motor vehicles ($1.2 billion), with the top destination markets being South Africa ($7.2 billion), Nigeria ($2.6 billion), and Ethiopia ($1.2 billion). Top U.S imports from the region included crude petroleum ($7.3 billion), precious metals ($4.7 billion), and gemstones ($2.2 billion), and the top suppliers were South Africa ($14.0 billion), Nigeria ($5.7 billion), and Ghana ($1.7 billion).

U.S. imports under AGOA totaled $9.7 billion in 2023, up from $6.8 billion in 2021 but down from $10.2 billion in 2022. Crude oil continued to dominate such imports and the leading suppliers were Nigeria, Angola, Ghana, and Republic of the Congo. However, non-crude oil imports increased 10.6 percent from 2021 to 2023, led by motor vehicles ($1.9 billion) and apparel ($1.1 billion). Other leading AGOA import categories include ferroalloys, precious jewelry, cocoa products, organic and inorganic chemicals, citrus fruit, and copper and related articles. The major sources of imports under AGOA were Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Madagascar, and Angola.

In announcing the report USTR said it “strongly supports” a further extension of AGOA, which is currently scheduled to expire in September 2025. However, USTR also wants to modernize the program to deal with challenges like “growing inequality, supply chain fragility, and the climate crisis” and to support goals like increasing integration under the African Continental Free Trade Area, improving AGOA utilization rates, deepening economic engagement with countries that graduate from AGOA, and providing additional tools for assessing and reinstating eligibility.

USTR announced separately that it will pursue these objectives at the annual AGOA Forum, which will be held July 24-26 in Washington, D.C.

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