“AGOA Week” Promotes Trade Growth Between the United States and the Republic Congo

Ambassador Todd Haskell, State-Minister Henri Djombo and entrepreneurs and producers

 Ambassador Todd Haskell kicked off Embassy Brazzaville’s  “GoAGOA Week” on March 19, 2018 with an address to more than 40 civil servants from six different ministries.  The inauguration event was the first in a week full of activities in Brazzaville and Point Noire to educate Congolese entrepreneurs and government workers on the benefits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

Signed into law in 2000, now extended through 2025, AGOA is a law that grants business owners from more than 40 Sub-Saharan Africa countries the ability to import more than 6,500 different types of products into the United States duty-free.

Embassy Brazzaville brought AGOA expert, Kara Diallo, from the USAID West African Trade Hub to present to packed auditoriums of business owners, relevant ministry officials, and members of the media to help all Congolese understand the law, the steps necessary to import to the United States, and available resources for business owners to find more information (www.agoa.info).

Currently, 98 percent of imports to the United States from the Republic of Congo are from petroleum based products.  However, the future health of the Congo economy will rely on diversification.

“Congo has tremendous potential for economic diversification in the areas of agriculture, eco-tourism, and transportation.  This potential cannot be realized by one ministry or one business.  Developing your economy is a team project,” said Ambassador Haskell in his remarks.

Through the multitude of media interviews, articles, meetings with ministry officials, business owners, and entrepreneurs throughout the GoAGOA week, Embassy Brazzaville hopes to see an increase in both the amount and diversity of Congolese products entering the United States marketplace in the coming years.