TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Bush Confirms Zambia's Continued Eligible for AGOA in 2004

Friday, 16 January 2004

Source: The Post (Lusaka)

"There's no need to get excited with the announcement that United States President George Bush has declared Zambia eligible for continued tariff preferences under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)" - according to an Editorial in Lusaka, Zambia's The Post newspaper.

And Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry public relations officer Conrad Simuchile says Zambia's continued eligibility to AGOA preferences, which was done on an annual basis, signified the country's steady progress towards a market-based economy, free trade, protection of workers' rights and several other governance issues. We wonder if Simuchile really understands the true implications of what he is saying.

There's urgent need for the developed countries to open up their markets to our products. And this needs no further theoretical disquisitions. But it is certainly not the type of opening that AGOA is giving us which is little more than a colonial sham.

We say this because the "eligibility requirements" or conditions that the United States is imposing on African nations to follow before they take part in AGOA amount to a colonial arrangement.

Under AGOA, African countries can only export tariff free to the United States market if they meet certain criteria and US officials certify that they have liberalised their economies, privatised their public assets, minimised government interference in private business and created a US-style legal system. These imposed conditionalities are bluntly referred to as 'eligibility requirements'.

What these overt and other covert conditionalities in AGOA amount to, is a re-colonisation of Africa.

It would appear United States interests in Africa do not go beyond the continent's oil and using African territory for Washington's self-styled 'war on terror'.

African governments are now forced to adhere to US foreign policy, US national security policy, and US imposed economic and social policies in order to get access to the lucrative US market.

Under AGOA, African nations must agree not to engage in activities that undermine United States national security or foreign policy interests.

This means that African countries' foreign policies and national security policies will be determined by the United States and by Washington's interests on the continent.

AGOA actually assists US multinational companies to have control over Africa's precious resources, such as oil, gold, diamonds and other minerals and metals.

African countries are also required to adopt "free market policies, privatise social services and withdraw price controls and subsidies in areas such as agriculture", which can hurt the poor.

It is clear that AGOA places too large a burden on potential beneficiaries, for instance, by requiring banking reform and strict quality-control measures that require the countries to import US expertise.

Under AGOA, the US President has to determine annually which countries are following "eligibility requirements": advancing toward a market-based economy, promoting free trade, attracting foreign investment and supporting job-creating businesses.

What AGOA does is to give the US President king-size power to open or close the US market to goods and services originating from African countries, depending on whether an African country is following AGOA conditions or not.

Clearly, the US has a leading role in imposing corporate globalisation world-wide through Washington-based institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, through its domination of the WTO and through laws and trade pacts like AGOA.



Latest AGOA Trade Data on AGOA.info

Click here to view a sector profile of Zambia’s bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated into total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.


For more about AGOA click here .

Other regularly updated trade statistics on AGOA.info include:

  • All Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Overview

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.