‘Sustainable Transformation through Trade and Technology’

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Private sector registration launched for AGOA Forum

Private sector registration for the 12th African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum was launched on Thursday.
During the event scheduled to be held in August, there will be different meetings between officials from Sub Saharan countries, their US counterparts, Ethiopian officials and representatives from the private sector. There will also be an exhibition as part of the program. During the press conference held on Thursday, officials of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (ECCSA) indicated that the association and the Ethiopian government have jointly organised the private sector event of the 12th AGOA Forum, in collaboration with the Corporate Council on Africa. Endalkachew Sime, Deputy Secretary and Advocacy Department Head of ECCSA, said that the 12th private sector AGOA event comprises five concurrent sessions, a US-Africa Trade Exhibition and a business-to-business meeting.
“The overall objective of the private sector event is to promote trade and investment between Sub Saharan countries and the USA,” he explained.
Officials from the two sides (US and Ethiopia) launched a website for the registration of interested private-sector actors to be part of the event. According to the officials, the companies and individuals from the private sector can register online on www.africacncl.org  , starting from the launch date.
ECCSA urged local companies and other African countries to become part of the event, as it will be a  good opportunity to create business links with US investment companies.
Several big companies from the US and other African countries are expected to be part of the event.
Katrin Kuhlmann, Executive Director of US-Africa Business Centre Corporate Council on Africa representative, said that over 600 participants from the private sector are expected to attend the event based on previous experience. Overall, the number is expected to exceed a thousand, if expected officials are present, she added. 
Compared to previous events held in other African countries and the US, the number of Ethiopian private sector actors expected to participate in the event is expected to be high, due to low registration fees. According to the organisers, the registration fee is USD 150 for Ethiopian private sector actors and USD 350 for other countries.
The forum will be held in the new complex of the African Union Commission (AUC) for five days, from August 9 to 14, under the theme Sustainable Transformation through Trade and Technology’ and discussions about the extension of the GTP, which is set to end in 2015, is expected.
AGOA is a US trade Act passed by the United States government to benefit Sub Saharan African countries and was signed into law in May 2000. It significantly enhances US market access for the stated region.
The Act originally covered an 8-year period, but amendments signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2004 further extended AGOA to 2015. According to information obtained from the Ethiopian side, the coming event is expected to look at the possibility for further extending the scheme. Countries like Ethiopia are under-utilizing the scheme even though their exports are growing every year and the main beneficiaries are oil producing African countries who are using it to effectively expand their market in the US.
Leather and leather products, horticulture and textile are some of the major products that Ethiopia exports to the US market under the AGOA scheme.