SA ministers travel to US to discuss AGOA Forum

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Finance Minister Enoch Godongwana, Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel and Minister in the Presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni are part of a high-level government delegation that is currently in Washington to engage with stakeholders.

The US trade representative is among the stakeholders that are meeting the delegation to discuss South Africa’s holding of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum later this year.

The meetings come after a bipartisan group of US lawmakers wrote to President Joe Biden last month, urging him to move the venue of the AGOA Forum, which South Africa is due to host in November.

The trip appears to have been a closely held secret with the high-powered South African delegation already in Washington for engagements with the US Trade Representative Katherine Tai who is Minister’s Patel’s direct counterpart.

News of the visit first became known after Minister Ntshavheni tweeted about their engagements with members of the US Congress, the US business community and civil society on efforts to strengthen the economic relationship between the two countries.

US lawmakers, both Republic and Democrat, expressed their serious concern to President Biden over what they called “South Africa’s possible violations of US sanctions laws over alleged arms transfers to Russia”, suggesting Pretoria could lose its eligibility to AGOA completely.

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