House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) today announced that the Subcommittee will hold a hearing on trade with Africa and the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The hearing will take place on July 29, 2014, in 1100 Longworth House Office Building, beginning at 2 P.M.
In view of the limited time available, oral testimony at this hearing will be from the invited witnesses only. However, any individual or organization not scheduled for an oral appearance may submit a written statement for consideration by the Committee and for inclusion in the printed record of the hearing.
In 2000, Congress first passed the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to provide duty-free access to a wide variety of products from sub-Saharan African countries that meet certain criteria. Benefits under AGOA are extensive, allowing for duty-free access for many apparel and agriculture products that are not included in the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and providing preferential treatment on about 2000 more tariff lines than GSP. In addition, AGOA includes certain special rules of origin to further encourage trade and development in Africa.
The program is designed to promote economic development in sub-Saharan Africa by granting increased access to U.S. markets. The AGOA Ambassadors Working Group estimates that AGOA has generated about 350,000 direct jobs and 1,000,000 indirect jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa and about 100,000 jobs in the United States.
Since adoption of AGOA in 2000, U.S. trade with sub-Saharan Africa has grown about four-fold, rising from $7.6 billion in 2001 to $24.8 billion in 2013. Approximately 90 percent of imports from AGOA-eligible countries entered under the AGOA program, though the level of utilization varies from country to country. Major products exported to the United States under AGOA include crude petroleum ($20 billion), automobiles and parts ($2.1 billion), refined petroleum products ($1.2 billion), and textiles and apparel ($907 million).
AGOA has had a positive impact on foreign direct investment flows to sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in the textile and apparel sectors, as well as the automotive sector. U.S. investment since enactment of AGOA has increased six-fold. Even as trade and investment have grown, significant barriers remain in Africa, including high tariffs, forced localization requirements, legal restrictions on investment, and customs barriers, among others. Substantial supply-side constraints, such as poor infrastructure, lack of regional integration, and other obstacles, also contribute to depress trade and investment flows.
As Congress considers renewal of AGOA, which expires in September 2015, this hearing is an important element of the Committee’s fact-gathering activities. To this end, the Committee encourages interested parties to submit for the record specific comments on AGOA and AGOA renewal, pursuant to the below instructions. The period for comments will be held open longer than usual to accommodate comments from interested parties.
In announcing this hearing, Chairman Nunes said, “AGOA is an important development tool that has been proven to promote economic growth and jobs both in developing countries in Africa and the United States. I am committed to ensuring a bipartisan, timely, and seamless renewal of the program before it expires in September 2015. In addition, we are studying potential changes to the program to improve its effectiveness and utilization. We are also exploring how Africa can reduce barriers and become more attractive for trade and investment within Africa, as well as globally, such as through full implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.”
FOCUS OF THE HEARING:
The focus of the hearing is on AGOA and U.S. trade policy in sub-Saharan Africa. The hearing focus will include: (1) deepening and expanding trade and investment ties with sub-Saharan Africa; (2) the effectiveness of AGOA and potential revisions to the program to promote improved utilization; (3) barriers to trade in Africa; (4) barriers to regional integration in Africa; and (5) capacity building and efforts to promote regional integration and integration into global supply chains, including through implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
DETAILS FOR SUBMISSION OF WRITTEN COMMENTS:
Please Note: Any person(s) and/or organization(s) wishing to submit for the hearing record must follow the appropriate link on the hearing page of the Committee website and complete the informational forms. From the Committee homepage, http://waysandmeans.house.gov, select “Hearings.” Select the hearing for which you would like to submit, and click on the link entitled, “Click here to provide a submission for the record.” Once you have followed the online instructions, submit all requested information. ATTACH your submission as a Word document, in compliance with the formatting requirements listed below, by the close of business on Thursday, August 28, 2014. Finally, please note that due to the change in House mail policy, the U.S. Capitol Police will refuse sealed-package deliveries to all House Office Buildings. For questions, or if you encounter technical problems, please call (202) 225-1721 or (202) 225-3625.
The Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record. As always, submissions will be included in the record according to the discretion of the Committee. The Committee will not alter the content of your submission, but we reserve the right to format it according to our guidelines. Any submission provided to the Committee by a witness, any supplementary materials submitted for the printed record, and any written comments in response to a request for written comments must conform to the guidelines listed below. Any submission or supplementary item not in compliance with these guidelines will not be printed, but will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
1. All submissions and supplementary materials must be provided in Word format and MUST NOT exceed a total of 10 pages, including attachments. Witnesses and submitters are advised that the Committee relies on electronic submissions for printing the official hearing record.
2. Copies of whole documents submitted as exhibit material will not be accepted for printing. Instead, exhibit material should be referenced and quoted or paraphrased. All exhibit material not meeting these specifications will be maintained in the Committee files for review and use by the Committee.
3. All submissions must include a list of all clients, persons and/or organizations on whose behalf the witness appears. A supplemental sheet must accompany each submission listing the name, company, address, telephone, and fax numbers of each witness.
The Committee seeks to make its facilities accessible to persons with disabilities. If you are in need of special accommodations, please call 202-225-1721 or 202-226-3411 TTD/TTY in advance of the event (four business days notice is requested). Questions with regard to special accommodation needs in general (including availability of Committee materials in alternative formats) may be directed to the Committee as noted above.
Note: All Committee advisories and news releases are available on the World Wide Web at http://www.waysandmeans.house.gov/.