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.
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.