In fact, employment, trade and economic policy are the drivers of these other indicators and will be the prism through which heads of state and government on both sides of the Atlantic will assess the success of U.S.-South Africa relations in the first half of this century. Presidents Obama and Zuma have also faced the crisis of economic inequality and the urgent obligation of our two societies to bridge this growing gap. In some sectors, AGOA is often seen as a form of assistance to developing countries. The U.S. government`s website says it helps “millions of African families find opportunities to build prosperity.” However, this image of trade as a form of aid is not entirely correct. If necessary, AGOA has given the United States preferential access to valuable raw materials such as oil. AGOA has also served as a good deal for the United States. Indeed, the decision to withdraw AGOA privileges in one country does not seem to have much to do with even the most extreme violations of human rights. This means that governments with poor or worsening human rights records may be under-accounted. But countries with improved or good quality registrations can be excessive sanctions, depending on their relative importance to U.S.
commercial, investment and security interests. In recent months, the United States has begun negotiations for a bilateral free trade agreement with Kenya. These negotiations are in line with the current government`s vision for trade reciprocity, not unilateral trade preference programs. While these negotiations could result in the first bilateral trade agreement between the United States and a sub-Saharan African country, the transfer of preferential regional agreements to bilateral free trade agreements could jeopardize the growth of small countries that may not have sufficient economic interest for the United States. Bilateral agreements could also undermine efforts to create a regional economic bloc through the Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). In our research on AGOA, Eric Reinhardt and I find that a country where the United States has strong interests in trade, investment and security is less likely to attend the termination of AGOA. If a country is highly undemocratic or has experienced a successful coup, it is more likely that the United States will end its status as AGOA beneficiary. However, the country`s human rights record has a less coherent and weaker effect on its AGOA status. This is not the first time that South Africa has lost preferential access to the United States through its measures.
In 2015, the United States warned that legislative changes that would limit foreign ownership of private security companies in South Africa could undermine the country`s inclusion in the African Growth and Opportunity Act. The law was passed by Parliament but was not signed by the President. AGOA has had limited success in some countries. In addition to the growth of the textile and apparel industry, some AGOA countries have begun exporting new products to the United States, such as cut flowers, horticultural products, automotive components and steel. While Nigeria and Angola are AGOA`s main exporters, other countries, particularly South Africa, have been more diversified and do not focus primarily on the energy sector, unlike the former. For some countries, including Lesotho, Swaziland, Kenya and Madagascar, AGOA remains essential. Agricultural products are a promising area for AGOA trade; However, much remains to be done to help African countries comply with U.S. health and plant health standards. The U.S. government provides technical assistance to AGOA-eligible countries to help them benefit from the legislation, through the U.S.
Agency for International Development (USAID) and other agencies. To this end, the U.S. government has established three regional shopping malls in Africa, in Accra, gha