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AGOA Forum: Togo obtains its textile visa

The 16th AGOA forum (African Growth and Opportunity Act) was opened on 8 August 2017 in Lome, in the presence of the representatives of the 38 eligible Sub-Saharan countries and American business men. The Togolese President Faure GNASSINGBE who was announced at the opening of the session was finally represented by his Prime Minister Mr. SELOM KOMI KLASSOU. Themed «The United States and Africa: Partnership for Prosperity through Trade», the Lome meeting was aimed at enabling trade ministers of the eligible countries to seek ways and means of drawing maximum benefit from the said act.

In his address, the Prime Minister urged participants to undertake «profound reflections» in view of expanding African exports that were dropping in the past years. «We are not yet capable of fully realising the whole potential of AGOA, whether in Africa or for the United States (...)», the Prime Minister, Mr. SELOM KOMI KLASSOU said. He called on participants to quickly take measures in view of optimising the impact of AGOA on trade, creation of wealth and finally on participative development». In his opening speech at the Forum, Robert LIGHTHIZER, the direct representative of Trade in Washington, assured participants that «the United States was committed to Africa».

At the end of four days of work in Lome, the United States of America signed the «Visa textile Togo-Usa» agreement supposed to facilitate access to Togolese textile products in the American market within the framework of the AGOA programme. It was announced by Robert LIGHTHIZER, United States Trade Representative. To Mrs. Bernadette LEGZIM-BALOUKI, Togolese Minister of Trade, it would henceforth be necessary to «sensitise economic operators to make them aware that we have enacted laws to enable them have access to American markets» of which the department developed a national strategy within the framework of AGOA.

Countries participating in AGOA are bound to meet the conditions concerning human rights, good governance, worker protection and apply no customs barriers on American products in their territories. In 2017, the number of countries eligible for AGOA rose to thirty eight. Between 2002 and 2008, African exports rose to 82 billion dollars. They dropped to 18.7 billion dollars in 2015, as against 26.8 billion dollars in 2014, representing a drop of 30.1%. It represents only 0.8% of the total volume of American imports from the world. Côte d’Ivoire shall host the 18th AGOA Forum in 2019 after the 17th Forum is organised in Washington next year.