TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

'Agoa Key To An Expanding Relationship with Africa' - Top U.S. Trade Aide

Tuesday, 13 July 2004

Source: United States Congress (Washington, DC)

U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Dick Lugar joined President Bush today at the White House signing ceremony of third installment of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA III).

AGOA3 Signing Ceremony"In this closely divided and often fractious Senate, the bipartisan passage of trade legislation without amendment was an improbable outcome. The AGOA effort demonstrated that good ideas can succeed, even in the most difficult circumstances," Lugar said.

On July 12, the Senate passed the House version of the bill, H. R. 4103. AGOA III extends the third country fabric provision, originally set to expire in September, until 2008. It also extends overall AGOA benefits until 2015 while providing new benefits that include technical assistance, investment incentives, and links in the fields of transportation and infrastructure.

In an effort to encourage timely passage, Lugar introduced S. 1900, the third installment of the AGOA legislation, in November of last year.

Lugar is also working on passage of a resolution promoting global cooperation on an HIV/AIDS vaccine, passage of a bill to improve the response to the orphan crisis in Africa, and the solidification of the Millennium Challenge Account.

Lugar added, "A stable and prosperous Africa will be better equipped to cooperate on a range of shared problems, including weapons proliferation, terrorism, narcotics, and contagious diseases."

Lugar has met at length with the African Diplomatic Corps regarding the importance of the AGOA III legislation and the importance of building on the progress accomplished by the legislation so far. The Diplomatic Corps expressed their gratitude to Lugar on his leadership on AGOA since its inception and his efforts to ensure that AGOA receives timely renewal.

In an effort to generate support for S.1900, Lugar sent out Dear Colleague letters highlighting the benefits of and seeking co-sponsors for the legislation. He also held a reception featuring Bono, the lead singer of U2 and long time crusader for aid and trade to the African subcontinent. Key advocates of AGOA from the House were present.