WASHINGTON, April 22, 2015 – The Senate and House will move forward with renewing the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), even though South Africa has yet to agree to U.S. demands that it end antidumping duties on American chicken.
The trade bills that leaders of the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means committee have reached agreement on - in addition to TPA and TAA - include a measure that would extend both AGOA and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), both of which provide duty-free treatment to imports from developing countries. The GSP law expired in July 2013. AGOA expires Sept. 30.
The legislation to renew AGOA and GSP aims to allow the administration to consider dropping South Africa from the list of eligible countries if the poultry dispute isn’t settled in the near future. A provision in the bill authorizes the administration to selectively review whether a country is making progress in meeting eligibility criteria and strip the duty-free status.
The legislation also contains “Sense of Congress” language urging the administration to start the review of South Africa within 30 days of the bill’s enactment
Negotiations on the poultry issue continued last week in Washington with a visit by the South African trade and industry minister, Rob Davies. U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman told the Senate Finance Committee that he told Davies that “we’re not seeing sufficient progress toward resolving the outstanding issues at this point and urged him to take further actions” to end the dispute.
The National Chicken Council supports the provisions in the bill, said spokesman Tom Super. “It is in (South Africa’s) hands on whether we will need to go further,” he said.
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