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US Has No Intention Of Moving Agoa Forum From SA – Dirco

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) has noted a letter by a group of American lawmakers to President Joe Biden’s administration to punish South Africa for what Capitol Hill sees as the country’s support of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The New York Times is reporting that the letter centres on the annual forum for the African Growth and Opportunity Act widely known as Agoa – which is due to be hosted by South Africa.

Dirco spokesperson Clayson Monyela said while the letter had been submitted – there’s no decision by the US to move the trade forum elsewhere.

“President Cyril Ramaphosa’s special envoys recently visited the US to meet and explain South Africa’s active non-aligned position on the Russia/Ukraine conflict to key stakeholders and decision makers… President Cyril Ramaphosa is leading an African Peace Mission (in the coming days) to Russia and Ukraine.

“South Africa enjoys the support of the US government, the Africa Group & Business in hosting the Agoa Forum which is planned for November,” said Monyela.

The Agoa Act provides duty-free access to the US trade market for about three dozen African nations.

South Africa, exported about R60 billion worth of goods to the US through Agoa last year.

Steven Gruzd of the Russia-Africa project at the South African Institute of International Affairs said the latest news was concerning.

“It has to show you that the ground has shifted – the military exercises with China and Russia were mentioned.”

He said countries were closely watching the government’s relationship with Russia.

In the meantime, international relations diplomats in Washington continued to engage their counterparts.