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Trade Notices


The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) today released its report examining the export potential of, and trade barriers faced by, sub-Saharan African countries eligible for trade preferences under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The ITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, conducted the investigation at the request of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). The report, Export Opportunities and Barriers in African Growth and Opportunity Act-Eligible Countries, is intended to assist the President in conducting a study requested by Congress under the AGOA Acceleration Act. As requested by the USTR, the ITC’s study is limited to the 37 AGOA-eligible countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The report identifies, for each AGOA-eligible country, the major economic sectors with the greatest potential for growth in export sales and domestic and international barriers that impede trade growth in such sectors. Highlights of the report follow.

  • Sectors or products exhibiting potential export growth include: existing exported products that a country could increase through improved productivity or product quality; products that reflect a country’s endowment strengths, but have not been exported in significant quantities; and products that represent downstream processing of existing export products. Export growth may also arise from increased export market diversification or increased penetration of existing markets.
  • Barriers to increasing exports can arise from international or domestic policies, as well as geographic or regional trade-related features. ITC research in selected AGOA-eligible countries, especially interviews of company, association, and government representatives, as well as secondary sources, cited domestic impediments as the major barriers to increased exports. Hence, in the report, the examination of barriers that limit export growth focuses primarily on domestic barriers and impediments. International and domestic barriers are broadly defined to include impediments related directly to international transactions, as well as domestic factors within each AGOA-eligible country that impede export growth.
  • The 37 AGOA-eligible countries have been categorized into nine country groups based on similar export patterns. The nine country groups are: petroleum-exporting countries (Angola, Cameroon, Gabon, Nigeria, and Republic of the Congo); predominantly mineral-exporting countries (Botswana, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Guinea, and Zambia); moderately mineral-exporting countries (Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, and South Africa); cotton-exporting countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, and Mali); fish-exporting countries (The Gambia, Mauritania, Namibia, Senegal, Tanzania, and S o Tom and Principe); coffee, tea, and spice-exporting countries (Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda); other agriculture-exporting countries (Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Malawi, and Swaziland); apparel-exporting countries (Lesotho, Madagascar, and Mauritius); and transport services-exporting countries (Cape Verde, Djibouti, and Seychelles).
  • Export Opportunities and Barriers in African Growth and Opportunity Act-Eligible Countries (Investigation No. 332-464, USITC Publication 3785, October 2005) will be available on the ITC’s Internet site at A CD-ROM of the report may be requested by calling 202-205-1809 or by writing the Office of the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street SW, Washington, DC 20436. Requests may also be faxed to 202-205-2104.

ITC general factfinding investigations, such as this one, cover matters related to tariffs or trade and are generally conducted at the request of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Senate Committee on Finance, or the House Committee on Ways and Means. The resulting reports convey the Commission’s objective findings and independent analyses on the subjects investigated. The Commission makes no recommendations on policy or other matters in its general factfinding reports. Upon completion of each investigation, the ITC submits its findings and analyses to the requester. General factfinding investigation reports are subsequently released to the public, unless they are classified by the requester for national security reasons.

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