Will Agoa be a goner under President Trump? Fears raised over future of trade deal

09 November 2016 - 16:33 By Roxanne Henderson

If American brands like McDonald's‚ Starbucks and Krispy Kreme see a dip in South African sales‚ the country's president-elect Donald Trump is not likely to be the reason. This is according to Alan Mukoki‚ CEO of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry‚ following Trump's presidential victory on Wednesday."American brands have their own independence‚ much bigger than Trump."If anything‚ it is the policies of the South African government that could break the operations of US brands in the country‚ he said.What is more likely to stir up trouble on South African shores is the hand Trump will have in the possible extension of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) when it expires in 2025.Agoa provides South Africa and other sub-Saharan African countries with ease of trade with the US. Mukoki said Trump would be the president when negotiations for a further extension of Agoa begin."We will probably go through a moment of anxiety. He [has] his own ideas on how things are done. The next review of Agoa is in 2025. That's the one aspect where I think we would worry."We would like the agreement to be extended. He would be the president when the work would begin."Mukoki said "it wasn't difficult with Bush or Obama" in the negotiation phase.While Trump could oversee the scrapping of the trade programme‚ his approval is not the only variable at play."There are many components of American power. The American Chamber of Commerce is very powerful. We don't know who Trump may want to listen to‚" said Mukoki."When we seek an extension‚ how is Trump going to respond? Who is he going to listen to?"Professor at the University of the Witwatersrand's School of Governance Patrick Bond says Trump could kill Agoa‚ but that a potentially more frightening problem for Africa is the new president's environmental policies."Donald Trump will allow fracking. He will refuse carbon emission cuts. This will be devastating for Africa‚ especially with the current drought."Bond said the United Nations (UN)‚ currently holding a climate conference in Morocco‚ should impose carbon tax on nations with high carbon emissions. This may be one way to force Trump to keep America green.Mukoki said there is a chance that Trump will do so in any event. "In many debates he said he would be protecting the environment."Trump has said previously that if he is elected he will withdraw the US from the UN's Paris Agreement‚ which seeks to lower the global rise in average temperatures.- TMG Digital

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