‘Extending AGOA deal might prove difficult due to SA’s stance on Middle East conflict’

todayNovember 8, 2023 22

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International Relations expert, John Stremlau, says it might prove difficult for US President, Joe Biden, to extend Washington’s AGOA trade agreement with South Africa by another 10 to 16 years.
Stremlau says reservations expressed by US Democratic Party Senator, Chris Coons over the possible extension could work against South Africa.
Coons is prominent on the Foreign Relations Committee and is close to Biden.
Coon’s concerns stem from Pretoria’s stance on Russia and the Middle East conflict.
This despite the US and South Africa’s Trade Ministers having praised the progress of the three-day Growth and Opportunity Act forum that was recently held in Joburg.
It is reported that AGOA has created 350 000 jobs between 2001 and 2011.
Stremlau says he thinks this matter calls for some quiet diplomacy between South Africa  and the US to ensure that Biden is comfortable with whatever decision Washington makes.


Government has long stood by its guns when it comes to the conflict, which has caused it local and international criticism.

Just last night, International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor called on the ICC to criminally charge Israeli’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, during a debate in Parliament on the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.

Government has also decided to recall all its diplomats in Israel for consultations and for the immediate release of all civilian hostages.

This move, however, has been described by Stremlau as reflective of cabinet’s stance on the ongoing war.

Stremlau says Pandor has been very critical of Israel and justifiably so, as the world has also come out in one voice against the ongoing violence.
Trade federation, Cosatu, on the other hand says while they are pleased with how the AGOA trade deal went, it is important that trade is extended with other key economic partners.
Cosatu’s Matthew Parks says for the first time it included organised presence, of organised labour, which is critical for the voices of workers from all the member countries to be heard firsthand.
Parks says they are keen to see the forum extended as it has helped the growth of direct and indirect jobs.


Written by: Nokwazi Qumbisa

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