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Friday, 03 November 2023 19:44

AGOA remains instrumental for many sectors in South Africa |Cosatu.

By Lehlohonolo Lehana.

Labour federation Cosatu (Congress of South African Trade Unions) President Zingiswa Losi says the federation has thrown its weight behind the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). 

Losi said AGOA remains instrumental for many sectors in South Africa, mining, manufacturing, auto manufacturing, clothing, and agriculture .

"As a trade federation movement, our responsibility is towards ensuring we protect jobs and that is why we have always had support for our government. 

"But beyond that, we continue to advocate and request our sister federation in the US to be our voice on that side that the United States of America and the Biden administration will be able to renew AGOA for the next 10 years before they go for their elections next year," she said. 

Losi was speaking during a media briefing on the sidelines of the AGOA Forum, which is currently underway at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg.

Launched in 2000, AGOA grants exports from qualifying African countries duty-free access to the United States market.

Losi said the federation supports South Africa's continued AGOA membership. 

"It is also important that that unaligned role is strengthened when we deal with the geopolitics and it's critical for government and business to simultaneously expand the trade and investment with other large trading partners such as the European Union, China and Japan and as you know we're also part of the BRICS Trade Union Forum." 

Losi believes, diversification will ensure South Africa is able to trade with all countries to address the 42% unemployment rate, of which 60% of those are youngsters.

"Importantly, for us to do that we need to address issues of energy in the country, crime and corruption and also the issues of rail and infrastructure."

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken has reiterated President Joe Biden's commitment to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) beyond 2025 when it expires. 

"President Biden fully supports the reauthorisation of AGOA. But we don’t just want to extend AGOA – we want to work with the United States Congress to make it better. And that's what this week’s dialogue is about, "he said on Friday. 

He was addressing delegates through a video speech at the three-day AGOA Forum at the Nasrec Expo Centre in Johannesburg. 

Blinken believes that AGOA is critical to realising this vision as thousands of people in sub-Saharan Africa have benefited in the past two decades.