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July 29, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC, July 29, 2014 — Covington & Burling’s Witney Schneidman testified today before the U.S. House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Trade on the need to renew and strengthen the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The Act, signed into law on May 18, 2000, provides duty-free access to a wide variety of products from sub-Saharan African countries that meet certain criteria. The program is designed to promote economic development in sub-Saharan Africa by granting increased access to U.S. markets. “Over the course of the last 14 years since the legislation was signed into law, AGOA has led directly and indirectly to the creation of several million jobs,” Dr. Schneidman said. “For a continent of one billion people, where the median age is 17, this is a significant contribution to economic growth, social stability and the emergence of a middle class with a strong appetite for American products and brands. It is in our strategic interest, therefore, that a renewed AGOA contributes to a deeper U.S. commercial engagement in Africa while also encouraging more exports from beneficiary countries.” The Act expires in September 2015. Dr. Schneidman is Covington’s senior international adviser for Africa. He is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, and currently a non-resident fellow at the Africa Growth Initiative in the Global Economy and Development program at the Brookings Institution.
To read his full testimony, click here.