African leaders call on Congress to renew trade pact for 15 years

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The report was released on Capitol Hill ahead of next month's AGOA forum in Ethiopia, which will allow U.S. and African officials to review the program's impact since it was enacted in 2000 and renewed and extended four years later. Several lawmakers are expected to attend the forum, as is new U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman.

The trade preferences have created 350,000 direct and 1 million indirect jobs in Africa, according to the report, as well as 100,000 in the United States. 

Still, oil and gas exports continue to make up more than 90 percent of African exports under the program. The report calls for increasing investments and capacity in other sectors, notably by renewing the so-called Third-Country Fabric provision that allows some AGOA countries to source their raw fabrics from Pakistan and other Asian nations in parallel with AGOA.

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on Smith's panel, said she was “convinced that with this early start” the program will be extended before it expires.

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