Wesgro welcomes the signing of a key agreement required by the United States for South Africa’s agricultural products to continue enjoying preferential access under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA.)

“We are also encouraged that Trade & Industry Minister Rob Davies has agreed to meet with an agricultural delegation from the Western Cape on Thursday morning, to provide a briefing on the remaining steps to be taken to secure ongoing AGOA benefits for Cape exporters” said Wesgro CEO Tim Harris.

“Western Cape wine, citrus fruit, fruit juice and dried fruit exports to the USA under AGOA amount to more than R780m annually. It is important that the sectors that could be affected by a change in the agreement understand exactly what government is doing to preserve their preferential access to the US market” Harris continued.

The Western Cape is the tenth largest exporter of wine to the United States but competition is stiff from countries like Chile and Australia – who also currently enjoy preferential import tariffs. Western Cape exporters stand to lose a great deal if AGOA benefits are removed. Equally, countries such as Mexico and Chile are highly competitive exporters of fruit to the US and would be able to take advantage of the introduction of a tariff on Western Cape citrus exports to the US – at the expense of the 4000 citizens of the province employed in the citrus industry.