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How much AGOA? Growth and Opportunity in the African Growth and Opportunity Act

7/1/02
Amar Hamoudi
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The African Growth and Opportunity Act took effect in January 2001 to allow qualifying sub-Saharan African countries to export qualifying goods duty free to the US. The act was expressly designed to "increase trade and investment between the US and sub-Saharan Africa." The evidence over the short time since it was enacted reveals that: most of the AGOA benefits have gone to oil exporters; most of the imports eligible for duty-free treatment are still being taxed, notwithstanding their eligibility. This is probably due to logistical difficulties in claiming AGOA benefits. AGOA has not increased trade flows from eligible countries to the US yet there are structural features of the law which threaten to reduce its developmental impacts.