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By Brian Sokutu

Senior Print Journalist

Agoa expo opens doors for African businesses to tap into US market

Also exhibiting at Made in Africa was another big beneficiary of Agoa – Samsung Electronics South Africa.

For Lily MacRae, no opportunity to showcase her product has been bigger than the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) Made in Africa Agoa Expo.

Owner and founder of Great Hearts of Africa, a Durban-based sauce and condiment manufacturing company, MacRae is among 527 African companies exhibiting their wares and products at the three-day 20th Agoa forum held in Johannesburg.

It is expected the forum will today announce far-reaching resolutions on trade between the US and 35 eligible sub-Saharan African countries.

ALSO READ: Africa calls for industrialisation and Agoa deal extension

“We see being part of Agoa’s Made in Africa Expo as an important opportunity to open doors for exports into the USA,” said MacRae.

“We are grateful to have been chosen for the SA National Pavilion by the department of trade, industry and competition – as consultant to Fantastic Flavours.”

With a major operational expansion in the pipeline in Johannesburg: two factories, a warehouse and a distribution centre, MacRae said Great Hearts of Africa was committed to “creating more jobs in South Africa”.

“We are proud to be creating many jobs for local people,” said MacRae. “Agoa will help us with export contacts and networking. The US export market will help us in keeping our prices competitive because we will not have to pay customs duties.”

ALSO READ: Agoa gives US ‘unworthy licence to interfere’ in domestic affairs of African states

Also exhibiting at Made in Africa was another big beneficiary of Agoa – Samsung Electronics South Africa.

Hlubi Shivanda, director of operations at Samsung Electronics South Africa, said: “With South Africa being the biggest beneficiary of the Agoa duty-free agreement on goods emanating and produced in this region, this presents an opportunity for Samsung to produce goods locally for export to the US market.

“Agoa shows us what’s possible when favourable tariff regimes are introduced between territories, which is why we established our Samsung South Africa production in the Dube trade port in KwaZulu-Natal, to explore opportunities that Agoa offers.

“As part of the Made in Africa Expo, Samsung has been showcasing TVs and monitors manufactured right here in South Africa, at the Samsung factory in Durban.

ALSO READ: SA’s hosting of Agoa to ‘boost economy’

“Agoa opens our target market to more than just African countries,” said Shivanda.

“Export to the US requires scale, but having the duty-free treatment of the products we produce in South Africa allows us to potentially compete with our American manufacturing counterparts.”

In his keynote address to delegates, President Cyril Ramaphosa said an early renewal and reauthorisation of Agoa by the US could help to strengthen trade and investment in Africa.

“The early reauthorisation and renewal of Agoa, with a particular focus on how Agoa can be improved, will help to ensure that the legislation achieves its objectives and reaches its full potential,” said Ramaphosa.

“We see potential to enhance Agoa with reforms that will add more products – making it easier for small and medium-sized businesses to use it.”

ALSO READ: United States needs Agoa more than South Africa – analysts

US trade representative Katherine Tai underscored the American government’s continued commitment to partner with Africa “to amplify the continent’s vibrancy, potential – promoting resilience, sustainability and inclusivity for more people”.

– brians@citizen.co.za

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