WASHINGTON, D.C., UNITED STATES (AUGUST 18, 2017) (STATE TV) – With U.S. President Donald Trump increasingly isolated over his response to white nationalist violence in Virginia, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a broad condemnation of racism on Friday (August 18) and promised to make his department more racially diverse. Continue reading
U.S. President Donald Trump said his chief strategist Steve Bannon was “not a racist” and then said “we’ll see what happens with Mr. Bannon.” Continue reading
Togo hosted an annual conference on the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) this week, bringing together various stakeholders from African nations and the United States. In 2015, the US Congress renewed the zero tariff deal for 10 years. Analysts have questioned how the programme will fare under U.S president Donald Trump’s presidency, given his “America First” campaign, that has seen him withdraw from various international trade deals.
SHOWS: LOME, TOGO (AUGUST 09, 2017) (REUTERS) – Talks between African and U.S. officials to review the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) free trade deal ended on Thursday (August 10) with no decision and a feeling of all sides that it had achieved little since it was set up.
President Donald Trump’s top trade negotiator Robert E. Lighthizer and other U.S. officials have been in the tiny West African nation of Togo over the past two days to discuss the Clinton-era trade pact with sub-Saharan Africa.
Trump’s “America First” campaign has seen him withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership, threated to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and seek to renegotiate the U.S.-South Korea free trade deal.
But his administration has said little about Africa, and had not previously mentioned the 2000 AGOA trade agreement. It is not clear whether the U.S. wants to change the deal before it expires in 2025 or extend it further – no decision was made on either count.
AGOA allows tariff-free access for thousands of goods from 38 African nations to U.S. markets.
But few African economies can take advantage of a U.S. trade initiative providing to the world’s largest market because they have little to export beyond commodities, an asset class where prices are in free fall.
Togo’s minister of commerce Bernadette Legzim-Balouki said that although not all the countries eligible have benefited from the law, the agreement allowed Africa to access the US market and that member countries will examine the constraints that prevent some African countries from profiting.
“2025 was the year that the AGOA agreement will officially came to an end. If the United States decides not to extend the agreement, does that mean that our trade relationship with the U.S must also come to an end? Not at all! African entrepreneurs and other stakeholders were able to have access to the US market. They have straightened their partnerships with economic partners in the U.S. A door has been opened, a relationship was established between the US and African countries,” she said.
Legzim-Balouki also said that the United States and the nations eligible for AGOA had agreed on some loose aims, including: to develop a better plan to take full advantage of the pact, for each eligible country to have bilateral talks with the United States, and the need for a mechanism to protect African producers from price volatility.
US officials at the forum said that the number of countries benefiting from AGOA was very limited, as is the number of sectors, adding that they will see if the situation improves in the coming years, but it is also up to the beneficiary countries to enhance their business climate.
“The AGOA programme was renewed for ten years by congress by a large margin. That means that we have 8 years of the law in place. It’s true that the environment has changed, and we are currently studying the best ways for African countries to benefit from AGOA,” said Peter Barlerin a representative of the US state department.
The U.S. trade deficit with the AGOA countries shrank to about $7.9 billion last year from a peak of $64 billion in 2008, as U.S. shale oil production increases have lessened the need for oil imports from major exporters Nigeria and Angola.
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The U.S indicts Alexander Vinnik, a Russian man accused of laundering $4bn in bitcoin through the BTC-e crypto-currency exchange. David Doyle reports.
INTERNET (JULY 26, 2017) (SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (July 26) he would not allow transgender individuals to serve in the U.S. military in any capacity.
A U.S. judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Facebook that accuses it of tracking users’ browsing activities even after they’ve logged out of their Facebook accounts. According to the judge, plaintiffs could have kept their online activity private but chose not to. Continue reading
PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA (JULY 4, 2017) (KRT) – North Korea said on Tuesday (July 4) it successfully test-launched an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), which flew a trajectory that an expert said could allow a weapon to hit the U.S. state of Alaska.
INTERNET (MAY 16, 2017) (SOCIAL MEDIA WEBSITE) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday (May 16) defended his decision to share information with Russia, saying he shared facts with Russian officials at an publicly known meeting at the White House last week. Continue reading
U.S. senators react to reports that President Donald Turmp disclosed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister during their meeting last week. Continue reading