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Future Uncertain for African Growth and Opportunity Act

From VOA Learning English, this is the Economics Report.

The United States is considering the future of an American law called the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA. This law allows countries in sub-Saharan Africa to export some goods and natural resources to the United States without duties. AGOA is set to end in 2015. It was signed into law in 2000 and has been extended once already.

Earlier this month, American Trade Representative Michael Froman met with African ministers in Ethiopia for talks on the possible renewal of AGOA. He said the United States is interested in African trade talks with the European Union. He said American officials want to know about the results of those talks before they decide what to do about extending the law.

Mr. Froman said African partner countries need to think about how they want to work with the United States on renewing it. He said the countries need to understand how this issue relates to their negotiations with the European Union. EU economic partnership agreements with African countries would be different from AGOA. Not only would African products be duty-free in Europe. European goods sent to African markets would not be subject to import taxes either.

Mr. Froman said the wording of AGOA might need to be changed so the law is more like the EU partnership agreements. He said the United States is unlikely to support calls for giving African partners one-way access to the American market while limiting trade for American companies. In the end, the United States Congress will decide whether or not to approve an extension of the law, and for how long.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Alex Villarreal.