Legislation to reauthorize the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), along with several other trade preference programs, was approved in the Senate on a 97-1 vote. It now heads to the House for consideration. AGOA provides beneficiary countries in Sub-Saharan Africa with duty-free access for certain products to the U.S. market. The legislation would renew for 10 years the program, which is set to expire in September.
In the context of AGOA renewal, NPPC has raised concerns about a de facto ban on U.S. pork imports by South Africa – an AGOA beneficiary. The United States is at a significant disadvantage in gaining access to South Africa’s large and growing market for pork because that nation accepts pork from key competitors Brazil, Canada and the European Union.
NPPC has been working with U.S. and South African government officials to open the African country’s market to U.S. pork. In a letter sent today to Senzeni Zokwana, South Africa’s minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, NPPC asked that his country address the unnecessarily burdensome animal health restrictions being placed on imports of U.S. pork, such as a time and temperature requirement for pork as a mitigation against trichinae.
NPPC pointed out that trichinae has ceased to be a food-safety concern in the United States because of a strong biosecurity program for pork production over the past 30 years. (To read the NPPC letter, click here.)