Politico | 10 August 2017
Lighthizer pushes for ‘greater reciprocity’ with AGOA nations
By MEGAN CASSELLA
Deeper commercial ties and two-way trade between the United States and African nations is on the forefront of U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer’s agenda this week at the 2017 African Growth and Opportunity Act forum in Lomé, Togo. Speaking at the event on Tuesday, Lighthizer said a more balanced trading relationship is vital in order to maintain support in Congress for AGOA, which allows for duty-free treatment of goods from eligible Sub-Saharan African countries.
Congress extended the legislation, which was initially passed in 2000, through 2025, though it added instructions for USTR to explore ways to increase two-way trade. That was partly motivated by reciprocal trade agreements the European Union has struck with some AGOA countries, a development Lighthizer remarked on pointedly during his speech.
"Some AGOA partners are implementing reciprocal trade agreements with major developed economies that compete with the United States," Lighthizer said. "So let us focus on ways we can achieve deeper commercial engagement now, while working towards greater reciprocity in the future, to ensure that sustained political support for our trade relationship goes forward."