Use of United States’ trade preferences

In the course of a piece on AGOA—the US African Growth and Oppor­tu­ni­ty Act which pro­vides trade pref­er­ences for eli­gi­ble African coun­tries in the US market—“Ben Muse(link to Ben’s website)”:http://www.acsalaska.net/~benmuse/blog/2004_04_01_archive.html#108223159474153275 asks about eval­u­a­tion of the pro­gramme.



Click for larg­er image in a pop­up win­dow

There’s no doubt that it’s an impor­tant oppor­tu­ni­ty for sev­er­al African coun­tries. But, like most non-rec­i­p­ro­cal trade pref­er­ences for devel­op­ing coun­tries, AGOA is restrict­ed in coun­try cov­er­age and by the ‘rules of ori­gin’ that sur­round eli­gi­bil­i­ty for pref­er­ence.  The last col­umn of this table from the “World Bank(link to the Glob­al Eco­nom­ic Prospects report)”:http://www.worldbank.org/prospects/gep2004/ shows the share (in $US bil­lions) of the total agri­cul­tur­al imports from dif­fer­ent coun­try groups that received a US trade pref­er­ence in 2002. In the case of Least Devel­oped coun­tries rec­og­nized by the USA, only 14% of agri­cul­tur­al imports actu­al­ly received pref­er­en­tial treat­ment. In my view this is a strong argu­ment for the USA adopt­ing the pol­i­cy adopt­ed by the EU, Aus­tralia, Cana­da and New Zealand that admits all imports from the Least Devel­oped coun­tries at duty-free rates with­out quo­ta.

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