Bill would extend African trade act

Bill would extend African trade act

WASHINGTON -- A bipartisan group of representatives introduced legislation Thursday to renew and modify the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which is set to expire at the end of the fiscal year.

The legislation (HR 4103) would extend the act until 2015 and offer additional technical assistance to help more African nations develop the framework to participate.

It would change third-country fabric rules by extending existing provisions for three years, allowing AGOA countries to use fabric made in other nations to produce apparel. It also would modify country-of-origin requirements to allow the use of collars and cuffs from countries not covered by the act to be added to apparel assembled by AGOA participants.

The bill also directs the administration to study each participant country within a year of enactment to identify sectors of the economy that have the greatest potential for growth and identify domestic and international barriers to growth in those areas.

The administration also would be required to develop policies that encourage investment in transportation infrastructure, communication technologies and agriculture production. The bill further seeks better coordination between customs services at port and airports in the United States to facilitate trade.

Rep. Bill Thomas, R-Calif., the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced the bill. The measure is co-sponsored by ranking committee Democrat Charles B. Rangel of New York, and several other members from both parties.