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SA ministers meet with US officials in bid to renew AGOA

Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

Published Jul 15, 2023

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Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana, his counterpart at Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel and Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni have held discussions with senior officials in the US over the extension of the preferential trade agreement and investments.

The ministers were in Washington this week where they met with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai to strengthen bilateral ties with Washington and push for the renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

On Friday the ministers met with business executives in the US to sell South Africa.

But the day before that they met with Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy and Environment Jose Fernandez.

They also had discussions with Senator Chris Coons.

Fernandez described the engagements with Godongwana and Patel as fruitful.

“It was great speaking again with Ministers Patel and Godongwana. We look forward to continuing working with our South African partners on key economic priorities,” said Fernandez.

Ntshavheni, Godongwana and Patel also met with Coons to discuss the AGOA forum that is scheduled to take place in South Africa later this year.

This comes against the backdrop of lawmakers who had written to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken a few weeks ago to move the AGOA forum away from South Africa because of Pretoria’s ties to the Kremlin following the docking of Lady R where arms were allegedly loaded on the ship.

But Pretoria has denied the allegation of supplying weapons to Russia and President Cyril Ramaphosa launched an investigation headed by Judge Phineas Mojapelo.

Coons was one of the lawmakers who wrote to Blinken in June asking for the AGOA forum to be moved away from South Africa.

But the department of trade and industry said the three ministers met with Coons to discuss investments and the AGOA forum.

They did not share details of the meeting with Coons.

The ministers also met with Congressman Richard Neal where they discussed US-South Africa relations and the AGOA forum that is due to take place in the country in November.

Godongwana, Patel and Ntshavheni met with the US Chamber to discuss bolstering trade ties, AGOA and the African Continental Free Trade Area.

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