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The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and its rules of origin : generosity undermined?

  • Mattoo, Aaditya
  • Roy, Devesh
  • Subramanian, Arvind

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), signed into American law on May 18, 2000, is a major plank of U.S. initiatives toward the African continent. The Act aims broadly at improving economic policymaking in Africa, enabling countries to embrace globalization, and securing durable political and economic stability. As an incentive for Africa to adopt the necessary policy reform, AGOA offers increased preferential access for African exports to the United States. This paper describes the provisions of AGOA and assesses its quantitative impact on African exports, particularly in the apparel sector. Its main conclusions are: 1) AGOA will provide real opportunities to Africa. Even on conservative estimates about Africa's supply response, Africa's non-oil exports could be increased by about 8-11 percent. 2) However, the medium-term gains could have been much greater if AGOA had not imposed certain conditions and not excluded certain items from its coverage. The most important condition is the stringent rule-of-origin, that is, the requirement that exporters source certain inputs from within Africa or the United States. Estimates suggest that the absence of these conditions would have magnified the impact nearly five-fold, resulting in an overall increase in non-oil exports of US$0.54 billion compared with the US$100-US$140 million increase that is expected in the presence of these restrictions. These restrictions, particularly on apparel, will come at a particularly inopportune time, as Africa will be exposed to competition from other developing countries when the quotas maintained on the latters'exports under the Multi-Fiber Arrangement (MFA) are eliminated. Africa's apparel exports will be lower by over 30 percent with the dismantling of the MFA. If, on the other hand, AGOA had provided unrestricted access, the negative impact of the dismantling could be nearly fully offset.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 2908.

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Date of creation: 31 Oct 2002
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:2908
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  1. Rod Falvey & Geoff Reed,, . "Economic Effects of Rules of Origin," Discussion Papers 97/21, University of Nottingham, CREDIT.
  2. Bernard Hoekman & Francis Ng & Marcelo Olarreaga, 2002. "Eliminating Excessive Tariffs on Exports of Least Developed Countries," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 16(1), pages 1-21, June.
  3. Anne O. Krueger, 1993. "Free Trade Agreements as Protectionist Devices: Rules of Origin," NBER Working Papers 4352, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Arvind Subramanian & Devesh Roy, 2001. "Who Can Explain the Mauritian Miracle; Meade, Romer, Sachs, or Rodrik?," IMF Working Papers 01/116, International Monetary Fund.
  5. Natalia T. Tamirisa & Arvind Subramanian, 2001. "Africa's Trade Revisted," IMF Working Papers 01/33, International Monetary Fund.
  6. Kala Krishna & Anne Krueger, 1995. "Implementing Free Trade Areas: Rules of Origin and Hidden Protection," NBER Working Papers 4983, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Ianchovichina, Elena & Mattoo, Aaditya & Olarreaga, Marcelo, 2001. "Unrestricted market access for Sub-Saharan Africa - How much is it worth and who pays?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2595, The World Bank.
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