Chairman Blumenauer Leads House Ways and Means Colleagues in Discussing U.S.-Africa Trade Relationship in Roundtable with African Trade Ministers

October 21, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR)—the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade—led his colleagues on the Ways and Means and Foreign Affairs Committees today in a roundtable discussion with trade ministers from throughout Africa to discuss key issues impacting U.S-Africa trade and economic cooperation, including trade equity, product diversification, and the future of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Chairman Blumenauer was joined by Representative Dwight Evans (D-PA), a member of the Ways and Means Committee. 

Since its enactment in 2000, AGOA has been the cornerstone of the U.S.-Africa economic policy, by providing duty-free access to U.S. markets, helping African nations compete with lower-cost producers elsewhere. 

“AGOA has opened new opportunities for U.S. exports and has resulted in a substantial increase in two-way U.S.-Africa trade since its inception,” said Chairman Blumenauer. “The success of AGOA is a powerful demonstration of the linkage between trade and economic development. But more can be done to support African countries in making the most of the opportunities under this legislation, and I’m interested in working to identifying the best ways for us to deepen our trade and investment relationship.” 

Blumenauer and his colleagues expressed unified support for strong ties between America and African nations through AGOA. Blumenauer also emphasized the importance of improving the details of the trade deal to diversify the products imported and scope of country participation through the program, given that crude oil is the leading import category and that 75 percent of the products imported through AGOA originate in six countries.  

There are currently 38 AGOA-eligible countries, each of which meet eligibility requirements that include not engaging in activities that undermine U.S. national security or gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.