Mmegi Online :: Botswana firms urged to utilise AGOA
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Last Updated
Friday 23 September 2016, 17:16 pm.
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Botswana firms urged to utilise AGOA

The deputy chief of mission to the U.S Embassy in Botswana, Tim Smith has encouraged local businesses to take advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
By Isaac Pinielo Tue 22 Mar 2016, 14:36 pm (GMT +2)
Mmegi Online :: Botswana firms urged to utilise AGOA








AGOA is a United States (U.S) Trade Act, enacted on May 18, 2000 that enhances market access to the U.S for qualifying sub-Saharan African countries. Speaking at a recent U.S market access engagement event organised by the American Business Council (ABC), Smith said the U.S government offers significant resources and market access to Botswana companies.

He noted that the engagement was to raise awareness on the tools available so that local businesses can take advantage of U.S government’s commercial offerings as well as U.S market access under the AGOA arrangement.

“In our bilateral consultations, Batswana stakeholders asked us for an AGOA time horizon longer than the five year window under the previous legislation. We provided this input to Washington and they acted on this request and extended AGOA for 10 years,” Smith said.

He added that this is important because it provides enough time for investors to set up export operations and take advantage of the unilateral tariff-free market access. Botswana exports to the U.S stood at $7.5 million last year down from $9 million in 2014.

Smith further said the U.S Embassy through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) supports a five-year $15 million (P166.5 million) Development Credit Authority (DCA) with Barclays Bank Botswana to provide access to credit for small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs.

Smith pointed out that the U.S Embassy wants Batswana to leverage resources and market access to grow their businesses, diversify Botswana’s economy, create

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jobs and boost bilateral trade.

“We are committed to building U.S-Botswana commercial ties for the betterment of American and Batswana lives, and are grateful to have ABC as a strong partner in this endeavour,” said Smith. Meanwhile, Botswana firms wishing to expand and diversify their businesses or those looking to source U.S products and services have been invited to contact the U.S Commercial Service, which is the trade promotion arm of the U.S Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration.

According to the ABC, the U.S Commercial Service trade professionals are in over 100 U.S cities and in more than 75 countries. It also seeks to help Botswana companies that are interested in sourcing particular U.S products or services or equipment and machinery.

“Use our Business Information Services. We have a large network of information resources to assist you in finding your U.S products or services and will have an answer ready for you in 48 hours,” said Donald Nay, U.S Commercial Service regional senior commercial officer.

He indicated that the U.S Commercial Service’s international buyer programme brings thousands of international buyers each year to meet with U.S companies at major trade shows in the United States.

“We organise international buyer delegations to select U.S trade shows and provide the following services: travel logistics, scheduled introductions, and on-site business counselling and more. Delegates also have access to the international business centre and are invited to special networking events,” said Nay.

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