Cosatu will place the issue of decent work on Agoa agenda

Cosatu wants Agoa to be extended. File Picture: Ian Landsberg / Independent Newspapers

Cosatu wants Agoa to be extended. File Picture: Ian Landsberg / Independent Newspapers

Published Oct 31, 2023


Cosatu has welcomed the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) summit in Johannesburg saying it will boost job creation in a country mired in a deep fiscal crisis.

It said that since it has been invited to take part in the summit for the first time together with other unions from Africa and the US, it will place the issue of decent work on the agenda of Agoa.

The trade union federation said current US companies operating in South Africa support 450,000 jobs in various sectors of the economy.

However, Cosatu said while it supports the extension of Agoa, South Africa’s non-aligned position in geopolitical matters must be respected.

It added that South Africa must also expand its trade relations with BRICS members, Japan, the European Union, and Africa through the African Continental Free Trade Area.

The Agoa summit will start on November 2 in Johannesburg, and high-ranking officials from South Africa and the US will take part in the meeting.

“South Africa, like all nations in this globalised era, is dependent upon trading with other countries. Key trade and investment partners for South Africa include the world’s leading economies, in particular the United States, the European Union, China, and Japan. Agoa has had a positive impact on not only South Africa but Africa as a whole.

"It provides reduced tariff access for large volumes of South African goods to the US market, currently the world’s largest economy. Our mining, manufacturing, and, in particular, auto-manufacturing, clothing, jewellery, and agricultural exports have benefited from this favourable tariff regime.

“Agoa is renewed annually and extended for five-year terms. South Africa’s retention is currently subject to review as Agoa expires in 2025. Not only do US companies investing locally support 450,000 South African jobs, but even more indirect local jobs in the mining, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors benefit from our large volumes of exports to the US. The revenues and taxes they generate contribute towards government’s fiscus and, thus, its ability to fund badly needed public services and jobs. The overwhelming majority of these workers are members of Cosatu affiliates,” said Cosatu.

It said that with the current economic crisis facing the country, more jobs were needed and that the country cannot afford to lose a single job.

Cosatu said it will be taking part in the Agoa summit for the first time and that they would be joined by unions from the continent and the US in the summit.

But the trade union federation said it would place the issue of decent work on the agenda of the Agoa summit.

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