US President Joe Biden has urged Congress to extend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) beyond 2025 when it expires.
Biden said Agoa was the bedrock of trade relations between the US and Africa.
US Trade Representative Katherine Tai also said they will work with Congress for the timely renewal of Agoa.
The call by Biden for the extension of Agoa beyond 2025 comes as the Agoa summit started in Johannesburg on Thursday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the summit on Friday.
Biden said Agoa has resulted in a strong trade relationship between the US and Africa.
“I encourage Congress to reauthorise Agoa in a timely fashion and to modernise this important Act for the economic opportunities of the coming decade,” said Biden.
He added that Agoa has over the last 20 years created thousands of jobs in Africa. He said the benefits of this deal were felt in both Africa and the US.
“I am committed to expeditiously working with Congress and our African partners to renew this law beyond 2025, in order to deepen trade relations between our countries, advance regional integration, and realise Africa’s immense economic potential for our mutual benefit. In so many ways, Africa is the future – and so when Africa succeeds, the whole world succeed,” said Biden.
Tai said Agoa has been critical for trade relations between the US and the continent of Africa in the last 20 years.
Tai met with her counterpart Ebrahim Patel during the start of the Agoa summit where they discussed trade between the US and South Africa.
She said she believes Agoa will continue to deepen relations between Washington and the continent.
“Agoa has played a critical role in protecting workers’ rights-and we intend to keep it that way. This is why we fully support reauthorising Agoa post-2025. And we are working and we will work with the US Congress toward a timely renewal of the programme,” said Tai.