Thursday, April 18, 2024

Kennedy, colleagues urge Congress to extend African Growth and Opportunity Act

by BIZ Magazine

WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. Chris Coons (D-Conn.) and Tim Scott (R-S.C.) in urging Senate leadership to prioritize the reauthorization of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), the senators wrote that renewing AGOA would create valuable opportunities for U.S. businesses, workers and consumers, while advancing national security interests.

“Renewing AGOA would offer businesses an important incentive to increase production in Sub-Saharan Africa, diversifying their global supply chains and reducing dependence on the People’s Republic of China,” wrote the senators.

“With an early, lengthy renewal, Congress can provide businesses the long-term certainty needed to diversify and secure their supply chains,” they continued.

“As you consider the legislative calendar for the months ahead, we strongly urge you to consider the reauthorization of AGOA as an important priority,” the senators concluded.

In Sept. 2023, Kennedy introduced the AGOA Extension Act of 2023 to extend the program for 20 years to 2045.

Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) also signed the letter.

Background:

  • Congress first enacted the African Growth and Opportunity Act in 2000. The program encourages African countries to adopt market-based economies, support democracy and protect due process and the rule of law.
  • In turn, AGOA-eligible nations receive duty-free access to thousands of products in the U.S. market. Today, 36 countries are eligible for AGOA benefits. The AGOA also supported nearly 120,000 jobs in the United States.
  • Congress authorized AGOA through 2025.

The full letter is available here.

Full text of the AGOA Extension Act of 2023 is available here.

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