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Congressmember Bass hails bipartisan introduction of “AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015” 
Congressmember Bass hails bipartisan introduction of “AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015”

Africa Subcommittee lead Democrat calls for quick approval of critical Africa trade bill

WASHINGTON—Today, Congresswoman Karen Bass (D-Calif.), Ranking Member of the House Africa Subcommittee, applauded the bipartisan introduction of HR 1892, the “AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015” that will extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for 10 years. For well over a decade, AGOA has served as the key foundation to U.S.-Africa trade and investment, and the proposal introduced today would build on and improve this successful law.

“For far too long the United States has lagged behind China, Brazil and other nations in trading with African nations,” said Rep. Bass. “Passing this version of AGOA is essential to the United States catching up and realizing the economic potential of trading with a continent of over one billion people. Members of Congress have a unique opportunity to ensure that the United States maximizes the economic potential of trading with African nations by reauthorizing AGOA as a stand-alone bill.”

Signed into law in 2000, AGOA has helped to significantly increase African exports to the United States and led to jobs both on the African continent and in the United States. Exports under AGOA for 2012 totaled $34.9 billion, more than four times the amount in 2001. AGOA has generated approximately 100,000 jobs in the United States and 350,000 direct jobs and 1,000,000 indirect jobs in Sub-Saharan Africa.

In the last decade, the nations of Africa have become more important than ever to the world’s economy, and their economies are some of the fastest growing in the world. From 2000 to 2010, six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies were in Sub-Saharan African countries. And this economic growth is spreading across the African people. Africa’s middle class has tripled in size over the last 30 years numbering 313 million people, greater than 34 percent of the population of the continent.

For the last several years, Rep. Bass has been actively pushing for the reauthorization of AGOA, bringing together Democratic and Republican members of Congress, business and labor officials as well as the AGOA ambassadors and members of the African Diaspora and civil society to push for the reauthorization of AGOA.  In January, she joined U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Michael Froman for a forum in conjunction with the Brookings Institution and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that attracted more than 200 people to discuss AGOA reauthorization and highlight its importance.

 

ABOUT THE AGOA EXTENSION AND ENHANCEMENT ACT OF 2015

The reauthorized bill would simplify rules of origin, promote greater regional integration, facilitate greater information on implementation, and provide greater certainty in the operation of AGOA. The measure will also strengthen congressional oversight through additional notification and reporting requirements and improve transparency and participation in the AGOA review process.

U.S. Rep. Karen Bass represents the 37th Congressional District, which includes Los Angeles, Century City, and Culver City and was the 67th Speaker of the California Assembly. Rep. Bass serves as the Ranking Member of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health and Human Rights.

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