African Growth and Opportunity Act Marks Progress in U.S.-African Relations, Zoellick Writes
The African Growth and Opportunity Act, passed by Congress last May, "represents a new approach by the United States to working with the countries of sub-Saharan Africa," U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick writes in a Wall Street Journal op-ed. The law allows duty-free access "for nearly all goods produced" in the 35 sub-Saharan African nations, "offer[ing] these countries a real opportunity to join us as we advance a world of free trade and free people," Zoellick writes. He notes that the trade law is "complemented by a number" of HIV/AIDS programs and other agreements to "ease high debt burdens" in African countries. Zoellick adds that one of his "first steps in office was to extend and expand a flexible interpretation of intellectual property rules to assist efforts to combine low-cost medicines with comprehensive HIV/AIDS health projects." Zoellick voices hope that the African trade law "will be but the first step on a road to a new type of U.S.-African economic relationship," adding, "This future will be marked by dynamism, not stagnation; the rule of law, not cronyism; responsibility, not dependency; human decency, not cruelty; and individual achievement, not stultifying states." Zoellick concludes, "[W]hen Africa breaks into the bright light of a new day of democracy and economic vibrancy, I believe that the [Africa trade law] will be seen as instrumental in pointing the way" (Zoellick, Wall Street Journal, 5/23).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.