The Somali government officially applied to join the 36 African countries on Thursday, benefiting from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The announcement was made during the Somalia AGOA application ceremony, where outgoing U.S. Ambassador to Somalia, Larry André, highlighted the United States’ commitment to expanding and modernizing partnerships in Africa and Somalia.
Ambassador André emphasized that the U.S. will focus on working with Somalia and its people to find innovative solutions to new and long-standing challenges, harness new research and technologies, and invest in long-term sources of strength while addressing immediate needs.
Since its passage by the U.S. Congress in 2000, AGOA has been at the core of U.S. economic policy and commercial engagement with Africa. According to Ambassador André, AGOA will enable Somalia to export its products to the U.S. market with significantly reduced trade barriers. However, to meet AGOA’s rigorous eligibility requirements, Somalia must make further progress in establishing a market-based economy, the rule of law, political pluralism, and the right to due process. Additionally, Somalia is expected to enact policies to reduce poverty, combat corruption, and protect human rights.
Ambassador André said, “These policies will create a stable and predictable environment for businesses to operate in and help ensure that resources are used effectively and efficiently. With all of this in mind, the Embassy is honored to provide a link between the Federal Government of Somalia and the U.S. Trade Representative.”
Somalia’s eligibility to join AGOA will be determined through an assessment process.
U.S. President Joe Biden recently signed a 10-year extension to AGOA, a key trade policy first introduced by President Bill Clinton in 2000. This extension guarantees that AGOA, which offers duty-free access for over 6,000 products from sub-Saharan Africa to the U.S. market, will not expire in 2025.