US Trade Representative on her way to SA for Agoa summit

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai will be in South Africa for the Agoa forum. File Picture: Gary Cameron/Reuters

US Trade Representative Katherine Tai will be in South Africa for the Agoa forum. File Picture: Gary Cameron/Reuters

Published Oct 26, 2023


US Trade Representative Katherine Tai has confirmed that she will attend the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) summit in Johannesburg next week.

Tai said she will co-chair the Agoa forum next Friday and Saturday.

But on Friday, she will provide opening remarks during the start of the summit.

She will also provide remarks at plenary.

Tai’s office said on Thursday she will be in Johannesburg from October 31 to November 4 for the Agoa summit.

During her time in Johannesburg, she will also meet with ministers of trade from African countries that are part of Agoa.

Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel has had several engagements with Tai in the last few months over the extension of Agoa.

Patel told Parliament recently that they want the Agoa agreement to be renewed earlier than 2025, when the current deal ends.

They hope that this will happen soon.

Tai’s office said she will also meet with trade ministers from the continent.

“From October 31, 2023, to November 4, 2023, United States Trade Representative Katherine Tai will travel to Johannesburg, South Africa, for the 20th US—sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation (Agoa) Forum.

“The forum will bring together the United States and Agoa-eligible countries along with representatives from key regional economic organisations and stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, and labour to discuss how to strengthen trade and investment ties between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa and how to promote resilient, sustainable, and inclusive economic growth and development,” said Tai’s office.

“While in Johannesburg, Ambassador Tai will meet with senior government officials from Agoa-eligible countries,” said her office.

South Africa and the US had a fallout a few months ago over the docking of the Russian vessel in the Western Cape last December, following allegations that South Africa sold arms to Russia.

At the time, Minister of Defence Thandi Modise said the ship had delivered equipment that had been ordered before Covid-19.

She denied that South Africa was selling arms to Russia.

When the panel that was appointed by President Cyril Ramaphosa conducted its inquiry, it found that there were no arms sold to Russia.