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Rep. Charles B. Rangel (D-NY), long time advocate for a trade and investment partnership between the U.S and sub-Saharan Africa, praised the signing into law of the African Growth and Opportunity Acceleration Act, known as AGOA III, by President Bush. Rep. Rangel, a key House sponsor of all of the Africa trade and investment acts since 2000, said this new law shows that the partnership between the U.S. and Africa is a lasting one.

"There is an African proverb that says that to you know your friend truly is a friend, you must go with him on a long journey. Four years ago, President Clinton signed the first Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, which created a new trade and investment partnership with sub-Saharan Africa. That legislation was revolutionary because it was the first step on a path away from poverty toward progress. Now, the journey continues and I am pleased to say that w as Americans are still walking on that journey with our African brothers and sisters and they are walking with us. We have passed the test of the long journey in the African proverb and we know that we are true friends to each other," said Rep. Rangel

The new law extends the current Africa trade and investment program until 2015, so that investors, exporters and importers can make economic plans involving sub-Saharan Africa. It also extends until 2007 the "Third-Country Fabric Provision," a vital provision for the least-developed African nations - allowing them to make apparel using fabric from nations other than the U.S. and African nations - so that they will have time to develop their own industry. The law also expands and strengthens the U.S. - Africa partnership on issues ranging from eco-tourism to agriculture assistance to the fight against HIV - AIDS.

"After the first bill was passed, some skeptics predicted it would not have much impact. The leaders and ambassadors form the African nations were confident that even a relatively small amount of trade would help revitalize entire economies in Africa. The results of the first AGOA show that the Africans were right, ad that they are still right that the key to defeating poverty ad disease in Africa is that Africa and the U.S. work together," said Rep. Rangel. "This is a bipartisan victory that shows what can happen if Democrats and Republicans cooperate with each other. More importantly, it is a bi-continental victory that shows what can happen when Americans and Africans combine forces to create opportunities for the people of both regions."


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