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Trade News From the USA

EFA is affiliated to the E-Merchants Trade Council (EMTC), which represents cross border ecommerce in the USA. Recently the EMTC sent us this report: “The US Senate Finance Committee held a Hearing on Cross Border Trade in February. During the hearing it was made clear that ecommerce is the trading system for the 21st century. EMTC is finalizing its comments on this hearing for submission [if you let me know ([email protected]) I will ask for these to be shared]. One of the major issues discussed was the de minimus rule, which has been a great help removing barriers to trade for ecommerce and small business. While the hearing was centered on import, some participants addressed ecommerce as an export platform, and the need for reciprocity with our trading partners. De minimus imports into the US decreased slightly in 2022 from $771m (2021) to $685m (2022)”.

With regards to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the USA has committed to retaining the agreement which allows over 5,000 products to enter the USA duty free (and often sales tax free). “In order to qualify for AGOA: ‘sufficiently manufactured’ means that all 3rd-country materials have undergone a substantial transformation and at least 35% of the good’s value is added in the beneficiary country, with up to 15% of that value attributable to U.S. inputs. Additionally, the goods must be “imported directly”. Countries not eligible for AGOA are Burundi, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Zimbabwe”.

At the African Heads of State meeting with Pres. Biden in December last, there were calls for the AGOA trade agreement to be renegotiated in 2023 (in order to avoid the US Presidential elections in Nov. 2024). At present, AGOA has been re-authorized through Sept 2025 according to the EMCT. EFSA is told that SA will host a meeting of AGOA with the US and African states this Sept. Details are not yet available.

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Alastair Tempest

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