Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Henry J. Hyde, Chairman

CONTACT: Sam Stratman, (202) 226-7875, October 18, 2005

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Africa Growth and Opportunity Act:
A Five Year Assessment

Smith Schedules Thursday Hearing to Examine Trade Pact

BACKGROUND: The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) – enacted in May 2000 – has increased U.S.-Africa trade by millions of dollars annually.  It created incentives to increase economic growth through trade, contributing to a growing sense of optimism among businesspeople on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.  Nevertheless -- contrary to the original intent of AGOA’s authors -- smaller businesspeople are more often excluded from the benefits since nearly 80 percent of trade under AGOA involves commodities such as oil. Despite the President Bush’s signing the AGOA Acceleration Act last year and the U.S. investment of $181 million in 2004 in trade capacity building programs, only a relatively small slice of the nearly 6,500 duty-free items under AGOA are being actively traded by Africa and American small businesses. Moreover, weaknesses in labor and human rights enforcement in AGOA-eligible African nations have not been addressed effectively as envisioned in the trade act. The hearing will examine AGOA’s many successes while at the same time beginning the process to determine what actions can be taken to more broadly ensure the economic benefits of trade to better guarantee the right of workers and citizens in AGOA nations. 

WHAT:                             Subcommittee Oversight Hearing:
                                          Africa Growth and Opportunity Act: A Five Year Assessment

                                          Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Organizations,

                                          U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chairman

WHEN:                            10:30 a.m. Thursday, October 20, 2005

WHERE:                          Room 2172 Rayburn House Office Building

WITNESSES:                 Panel I:
                                          Florizelle Liser,
                                          Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa,
                                          Office of the U.S. Trade Representative;

                                          Panel II:

                                          Steve Hayes,
                                          President, Corporate Council on Africa;

                                          Sarah Wykes,
                                          Senior Campaigner, Global Witness;

                                          Bob Baugh,
                                          Director Industrial Union Council, AFL-CIO;

                                          Dr. Daniel Karanja,
                                          Senior Research Fellow,
                                          Partnership to Cut Hunger and Poverty in Africa.

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