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US Senator Chris Coons proposes immediate review of SA’s Agoa eligibility

US Senator Chris Coons proposes immediate review of SA’s Agoa eligibility
US Democratic Party Senator Chris Coons. (Photo: Caroline Brehman-Pool / Getty Images)

His proposed Bill would extend Agoa for 16 years — but possibly eject SA from the preferential trade programme.

Powerful US Democratic Party Senator Chris Coons is circulating a discussion draft of a Bill to renew the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) for 16 years that would also require an immediate “out-of-cycle” review of South Africa’s eligibility for Agoa.

That could lead to South Africa being removed next year from the programme, which has provided considerable benefits to SA exporters to the US of cars, fruits and wine, in particular. 

Coons released the draft Bill on Monday, after the annual Agoa Forum was held in Johannesburg last week.

Much of the discussion focused on whether to renew Agoa when it expires in 2025, for how long and whether to change its terms.

Agoa grants duty-free access to the lucrative US markets for most exports from eligible sub-Saharan countries. 

South Africa has been the biggest beneficiary of Agoa, but recently influential members of Congress, including Coons and Republican Senator Jim Risch, questioned SA’s eligibility because its warm ties with Russia were deemed to threaten US national security and foreign policy interests, violating an Agoa condition.

Last week, the Biden administration released the list of countries it is removing from Agoa next year because of military coups (Gabon and Niger) or human rights violations (Uganda and the Central African Republic). But South Africa remained on the list, despite the congressional misgivings.  

Risch, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, responded by writing to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken rebuking the administration for allowing SA to host the Agoa Forum and for keeping it on the list of Agoa beneficiaries.

Relations with Hamas and Iran

He said SA should be removed, not only because of its closeness to Russia, but also more recently because of its relations with Hamas and its chief sponsor, Iran. He cited in particular International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor’s call to Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh shortly after Hamas’ attack on Israel on 7 October as well as her recent visit to Iran to meet her counterpart and President Ebrahim Raisi.  

Pandor’s office told Daily Maverick that Pandor had visited Iran in part to arrange for Raisi’s upcoming visit to South Africa. Risch said in his statement on Thursday that Raisi had been scheduled to visit SA last Tuesday, but that Pretoria had aborted the visit because of the bad impression it might have made on the US on the eve of the Agoa Forum.

Risch said because of the administration’s failure to take action against South Africa, Congress would have to take “course-corrective action”. That now seems to be what Coons is contemplating, perhaps rather unexpectedly as he had been considered a good friend of South Africa.

“Out-of-cycle” reviews are done when special circumstances arise in between the normal annual reviews of all Agoa beneficiaries.

Long-term extension

Coons said that his draft “Agoa Renewal Act of 2023” would extend Agoa for 16 years — instead of just 10 years, as in the last extension in 2015.

“This long-term extension would provide businesses with the predictability needed to invest in sub-Saharan Africa at a time when many firms are looking to diversify their supply chains and reduce dependence on China,” Coons said.

“Increased investment by US businesses in sub-Saharan Africa supports regional economic growth and development and strengthens the United States’ position on the continent.”

To help integrate Agoa with the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) which is slowly coming on stream, Coons’ Bill would modify Agoa’s rules of origin to allow inputs from North African AfCFTA members to count toward the requirement that 35% of a product’s value must originate in the region.

“This change would help Agoa reinforce the AfCFTA’s promise to develop intra-African supply chains,” he said.  However, to participate in the expanded rules of origin, “North African countries would be required to meet Agoa’s eligibility requirements related to governance, human rights and foreign policy.”

Coons’ draft Bill addresses many of the concerns raised at the Agoa Forum. The US deputy assistant secretary of state for Africa, Joy Basu, told Daily Maverick that the Agoa Forum had discussed how to integrate the AfCFTA more and how to include North African countries in Agoa.

She said President Cyril Ramaophsa had told the forum about the importance of strengthening regional supply chains.

“We really want to see those strengthen for multiple reasons,” Basu said. “We really believe that strong regional supply chains and harmonised tariffs, harmonised borders will help American companies. But also it will definitely help South African companies and African companies. And it will raise local prosperity and incomes.”

Basu said the forum had also discussed changing Agoa’s rules of origin to boost the utilisation of the programme, which had not been widely exploited. 

The draft Bill by Coons also addresses what has become known as the Mauritius Clause in Agoa. Under the current Agoa law, nations lose their eligibility for Agoa as soon as they become high-income countries, according to the World Bank’s measure of GNI per capita. That threshold is currently $13,845. 

But Coons noted that developing economies often had volatile economic statistics which could rise above the threshold and then drop back below it. 

This happened to Mauritius recently. 

To remedy the problem, Coons proposes that countries should not lose their Agoa status until they have maintained “high-income” status for five consecutive years.

Coons’ draft Bill also proposes that the current annual eligibility reviews of all 49 sub-Saharan states should only take place every three years, which he said was the standard for other trade preference programmes, such as the Generalized System of Preferences. DM

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Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • John Buchan says:

    Gunshot wounds to feet are always painful and there is never any prospect of recovery.

  • Iam Fedup says:

    The fools in the ANC are overwhelmingly short-sighted about the future of our country, and wouldn’t know who was their friend even if he slapped them across the face. Do they have no insight that there is no coming back from this potential catastrophe? And now we will all have to sit with our faces in the gutter because of their utter stupidity.

  • Trenton Carr says:

    I hope we get kicked out.

    • Dermot Quinn says:

      This would be most serious for sectors of our economy. I know we get the govt we deserve and this is probably it. Would the ANC grow intelligence or diplomacy or respect for it’s people if we were kicked out so longer term we could grow?
      I fear not. We need a proper govt that understands things that are contradictory and complicated and intricate and can navigate through without sinking us all.
      We also don’t know what the Russians have “done” personally for our leaders creating conflicts.
      Maybe this is too ambitious given our base.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      I have a nasty feeling that we have to collapse completely before we have any hope of beginning a rebuild. AGOA being pulled would help accelerate that. Sadly we are just as likely to end as a long term Somalia style basket case as we are to start climbing the hockey stick from the bottom. What I am sure of is that the good plane SA is on a crashward trajectory with three engines out and all the actions of it’s poephol pilot and his gang are able to achieve is to change the glide angle.

  • Jimbo Smith says:

    Well, our politicians are truly gifted when it comes to scoring own goals with nonsensical policies and support for the likes of Russia, Hamas and Iran. They clearly have no idea of the Law of Unintended Consequences; in his case, steadily ensuring that SA could become an economic wasteland in the same basket as Venezuela, Zimbabwe and Cuba (all, much admired by our ANC wrecking ball).

  • George 007 says:

    This is a no-brainer but the ANC still doesn’t get it. Very dangerous.

  • Mohammed Hassem says:

    while our politicians have not doubt shot themselves in the foot, I have to wonder if our dependence on USA trade agreements that impose conditions on trade which supposedly protect the America’s “National Security” is worth it. This is like having a friend who demands that you only have a relationship with people they approve off, we would find this ludicrous. What’s so different about the Agoa agreement? I guess our weak economy and the fact that it is being pillaged by the very people that have been elected into power leaves us no option but to go forth with our begging bowl! I have to wonder! In the short term there are many benefits, however these are always in the favor of the US, they are after all making the conditions. In the longer term I have my doubts. They do control the currency and have the ability to devalue our currency as they see fit. This nullifies any potential benefit that such an agreement would have.

    • Thea Clifford Jackson says:

      None of the ANC’s friends are in any way admirable or valued members of the global community. They are simply not worth the risk of losing the economic benefits of trade agreements such as AGOA.

    • Pet Bug says:

      Maybe do some research on the impact on agricultural, motor vehicle manufacturing and many other value-added exports with no tariffs to the US.
      Our Rand is tanking not because of the US, but because our government can’t stop spending money they don’t have.

    • Ben Harper says:

      Suggest you actually read up on it and how much SA benefits from this deal, and while you’re at it look at how much trade SA does with the US compared to the anc’s idols (Russia, China, Venezuela, Cuba, Iran etc etc)

      • Caroline Rich says:

        Exactly. It’s the anti-west sentiment playing havoc with our economy. Where does our aid come from, grants for NGO’s etc. yup, the west. Certainly not Russia or Iran.

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      The benefits are overwhelmingly, if not entirely in our favour. The US foregoes import duties to benefit us and I can’t think of a great deal that they get in return other than a cuddly feeling about helping. That doesn’t come for free. We would come across a great deal less like a banana republic if we conducted our foreign policy according to whatever passes for principle in the anc or out of self interest. Gormlessly trying to do both has the predictable outcomes that we are experiencing now.

    • Paul T says:

      I am wondering the same thing. Whereas our government’s tacit support for Russia is totally out of whack with what is the correct moral and strategic position, I don’t think the Israel/Palestine conflict is as clear cut. Support for the plight of Palestinians does not necessarily equate to the support of a band of extremists and a rogue Islamist state (bear in mind that it was the very same US which had a hand in installing the Islamists in Iran in the 1930’s, but they don’t want anyone to remember that). Now for the US to hang the withdrawal support for Palestine over our heads as a precondition to continued market access may be recorded in the fullness of time as coercion into supporting the genocide of Palestinians, masked as defence of Israel.

      • Dee Bee says:

        I think you’re partially correct – Israel watched on as Hamas grew stronger because it was a convenient way to dilute the strength of the PLO and later the Palestinian Authority. The US has a woeful record of backing or installing rogue regimes across the planet, with huge suffering as a result. However, support for Palestinians and support for Hamas are two different things, and not morally the same. Further, supporting a principled, moral and humanitarian approach to the conflict without taking sides would be a far better approach, likely to achieve more. The ANC is (very slowly) learning this with the Ukraine conflict. Finally, it’s not just about this conflict, or the Russia-Ukraine one, or hosting Chinese and Russian warships for joint military exercises (or Lady R): it’s that South Africa has a more anti-US voting record at the UN than China, Russia, Venezuela and a host of so-called enemies of the US. This brain-dead regime still thinks its holding up placards outside Jan Smuts House at Wits in the 80s. Our foreign policy is a puerile, luddite, teenage ejaculation driven by leftists who have never had to live in the real world of creating jobs and sustaining a country. They are the ultimate parasites living it up at taxpayer expense, whilst giving the people of South Africa the middle finger. Morally reprehensible: where are the outraged protests at the carnage in Darfur, Ethiopia, DRC, the Sahel – or are these just Mokonyane’s ‘dirty voters’ unworthy of interest?

        • Thea Clifford Jackson says:

          I’m glad that you place the supporters of the current regime and their placard outside Wits in the 80s. I was a protestor waving my placard on Jan Smuts in the 60s and I like to think that generation has the moral high ground!

          • Dee Bee says:

            That generation had a lot more moral high ground than today’s mob – as I said (badly, on rereading it), our government is still behaving like student protestors, agitating against a system, when they’re not: they are the government of the day and need to put South Africa’s interests first and foremost. We’re in the worst economic hole we’ve been in since the 80s and should be protecting every advantage we have, every job we have and every opportunity we have, to get out of this mess, but the ANC doesn’t give a damn and thinks its somehow above caring about its own citizens and domestic interests.

            PS – I think those protestors in the 80s were brave souls, given the disgusting regime they protested against, however, it seems that this ANC cannot grow intellectually beyond student protest level politics. It’s a big nasty world out there and we’re simply out of our depth.

    • Dee Bee says:

      Mohammed, wrong on all levels: AGOA’s requirements don’t require South Africa to toe the US line on every issue. No African countries do, many vote against the US in UN resolutions and have cordial relations with China, Russia and other ‘anti-western’ states. AGOA offers us preferences to the world’s largest economy, but the ANC is actively seeking to undermine US interests – every country has interests which it protects and the US is no different. The ANC, however, has no interest in the people of South Africa and will happily sacrifice jobs and accelerate poverty in order to further the interests of Russia, China, Iran and other countries hostile to the US. We’ve aligned with states that offer us nothing tangible. Why? It doesn’t put bread on the table.

      I hold no candle for the US, at all, but look to examples of more mature states in Africa of how you can play all sides to the benefit of your people: Zambia, Angola, Tanzania, Mozambique, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Botswana, Ghana and DR-Congo are just some of the countries that carefully and fairly successfully – and skillfully – manage to balance the pressures of the competing big nations in order to extract benefit. It goes beyond the bipolar, zero-sum game our limited leaders see, to harvesting the interests of the US, EU, China, India, Turkey, UK, individual European countries, Brazil, Russia, Saudi Arabia, UAE and others to the best interests of your country – not your blunt, demented, egotistical ruling elite.

    • Eyes Wide Shut says:

      I understand your reasoning. But, to use your analogy, I would have every right not to be your friend if you had relations with dubious characters and criminals, for example. We would both be bigots if we pretended that it doesn’t matter. I wouldn’t want you in my house for lunch because maybe you’ve been influenced by those characters and then share secrets of contents of my house to your friends of dubious character. Why should you have the benefit of eating my food when I may be robbed a few days later?

  • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

    Unfortunately the people of this country are not educationally equipped to connect the dots here. Most will never have heard of Agoa.

    …and they will feel the outcome only. More poverty.

    Unfortunately this lack of understanding extends right up into our government. The only difference is the ministers will simply take money from other sources and won’t feel the pain.

    Sadly for all South Africans, I don’t believe this threat will change SA policy in any appreciable way.

    On the flip side, given the overtly anti-west/American overtures by our government in its abject ignorance, I totally understand why the US wants to terminate AGOA for South Africa. If I was American I would certainly vote in favour of termination.

    • Dee Bee says:

      I really do get irritated by this notion that most people in South Africa vote certain ways or act certain ways because they don’t have the education to do otherwise. It’s a lazy trope, not borne out by evidence from around the world.

      Most people around the world don’t understand trade agreements – I can remember a leading economist here when we signed the SADC Trade Protocol and the EU one saying that if 5% of business leaders in SA could name the agreements we were party to, he’d eat his hat. He’s still got the same hat 23 years later. Your average Pom didn’t understand the EU mechanisms and how the UK was one of the key beneficiaries of it – and leading proponents of new legislation – and simply folded under the wild-eyed, knuckle-dragging populism of Brexit (with a fair amount of bigotry and race-baiting thrown into the mix). Anti-EU sentiment has been on the rise for some time in many European countries, despite the obvious benefits of a single market and currency for most countries and people.

      • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

        If you don’t see that lack of education is a key component South Africa’s current predicament – at many many levels – then you are truly blind.

        • Dee Bee says:

          I do see the education crisis – at all levels – what I object to, and have said before on here, is the characterisation of everyone who votes ANC or has a view contradictory to the majority view here, as stupid, or ignorant or uneducated. As I’ve said, just look around the world, today and throughout history, and you’ll see ample evidence of well educated people doing blindingly stupid things, individually and collectively.

          People act or react to things for a plethora of reasons – not just education level. Again, Brexit, Tories for the last two elections at least, Trump, Bolsanaro, apartheid, any number of Argentine populists, Venezuela – you can carry on for ages – are all these people stupid or uneducated?

          • Fanie Rajesh Ngabiso says:

            I don’t believe the ANC is mentioned in my post …maybe you misread it.

            Interestingly you acknowledge education as a factor and then in the same breath deny it, for a specific issue of your choosing.

            Calling everyone stupid is problematic, but lack of education and the consequent negative implications thereof a reality. If you truly don’t see this there is not much more I can say so I’ll leave you to your opinion.

  • Confucious Says says:

    The anc and their ilk are everything that the West and civilized democracy is not. Whatever a first world country would do is exactly what this government would not do. Perhaps part of me wants to see SA punished for their stupidity and allegiances, but part of me knows that everyone in SA will be worse off… and not everyone votes for the anc or their ilk. Get the ministers sanctioned!

  • Johan Buys says:

    There are already exporters setting up value-adding facilities for their SA products in SADC countries with electricity, functioning harbor and no Agoa risk. Ironically in one case of specialist nutrition/additive derived from unique SADC plant materials, the underlying material actually comes mostly from not-SA.

    So instead of lugging it three days to SA for processing and packaging and shipping out of SA, it travels 1 day and leaves from another SADC country.

  • M D Fraser says:

    Unbelievable – actually no, not really. The ANC seem to be in a death spiral and it seems they want to take SA down with it. That must be the answer, because no one could actually be this stupid.

  • pb41 says:

    The ANC, as typified by Minister Pandor, are so chained to their outdated, unworkable ideology and irrational, deep-seated prejudices that they have succeeded in alienating the most successful economy and democracy in the history of the world. They would rather ally themselves with third rate, bitter, unsuccessful, undemocratic, war-mongering, mysogynistic, aggressive, hypocritical governments and societies that have nothing positive whatsoever to offer South Africa.

  • If the ANC keeps “poking the bear” South Africa will be kicked out of Agoa! This will be a disaster 😳

  • A B says:

    Speaking from the perspective of someone who was born and lived in Zim fro a large part of my life, all i can say is the writing is on the wall and the red flags are rapidly waving themselves in our faces.

  • Con Tester says:

    The geniuses in the ANC want their proverbial cake and to eat it, too. Ramaposeur recently urged for a ten-year AGOA extension for SA, all the while cozying up with various shady partners who mean the US only harm. The slimy hypocrisy is manifest. Honour, of which he and his corrupt minions know less than zero, dictates that you don’t demand special favours from those whom you implicitly disparage or even directly accuse of wanting to extort a particular flavour of foreign policy from you. You either abide by your benefactor’s conditions, or you do without their support.

    The ANC is morally bankrupt.

  • Val Ruscheniko says:

    There just has to be a better alternative (than wrecking ball Naledi Pandor)
    to try and save what little remains of the devastated SA economy under the ANC, surely?

  • There are real consequences for the ANC disgraceful moral fibre – unfortunately its the South African public that continues to pay the price. Boot them out in 2024.

  • Dee Bee says:

    South Africa is currently in the worst economic space it has been since the heyday of economic sanctions in the late 1980s, with virtually every metric of economic competitiveness falling off a cliff. From unemployment to rampant inflation to collapsing (or collapsed) infrastructure and public services, there is virtually nothing that this current iteration of the ANC can point to as a success. So what does our regime do? It actively seeks to alienate the largest foreign investor in South Africa and the second largest destination for our value-added products. Why? So that a bunch of puerile 80’s style student revolutionaries who have never grown up can strut their stuff on the global stage. The ANC absolutely despises the citizens of South Africa, it treats us with complete contempt, over, and over again, by constantly putting jobs, prosperity and development at risk, simply so that these egotistical luddites can rub shoulders with the so-called global south. Disgusting, treasonous and utterly immoral: ANC OUT!

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    We deserve to be kicked out of AGOA and hope we are! This deceitful, treasonous, immoral and duplicitous charade by the anc must stop or suffer the consequences. All they are doing is playing the US – we want your money, your goodwill, your trade, your investments but otherwise, we hate you, we condemn you, we will always blindly vote against you and give you the middle finger. SA under the vile spineless cowards that is the anc is so at odds with what they hypocritically pontificate and claim ie we base our policies and foreign ones too on human rights, democracy and freedom whilst we close ranks and blindly support the most odious and bestial murderous regimes like the evil Putin Russia, the diabolical Satanist Iran and Hamas etc etc. One can clearly see the deceit in inviting the putrid Iranian regime to visit, only to postpone it due to sensitive AGOA negotiations BUT once in order, they will tell the US to go to hell. Keep AGOA for other African countries that need, deserve and above all, appreciate it!!! Dont be naive US!

    • Indira Govender says:

      So much anger… but I do hear you. I too am disheartended by the state of affairs in South Africa. That we are a point where we can’t even take a moral stand without having our economy threatened. These tactics are not new, the US is known for keeping its foot on the neck of developing countries that don’t support their foreign policies. The must accept the blame ANC but we can also be thankful e.g. millions of people on ART, free and legal abortion services, decriminalising sex work, equal rights for LGBTQI community. The ANC were pigs at the trough in the global neoliberal order and now our jobs and economy are on the line because we want to stand against western imperialism, racism, colonisation and genocide.

      • Dee Bee says:

        Sorry, but the ANC is not taking a moral stand: it is taking an explicitly ideological stand, that was once based on a common moral cause: where is ANC morality on Darfur, which is once again being ravaged by the Janjaweed (dressed up as the RSF)? Where is the morality on Zimbabwe, which has trashed the country to the extent that 20% of its population now lives here? Where is the morality on Ethiopia, on the Sahel, on the Wagner terrorists committing genocide in the Central African Republic? Where? Our own continent is home to tens of millions of refugees and internally displaced people, yet not a word from the ANC? Being on the correct side of the Palestinian conflict (with massive caveats about Hamas) is an accident of history, not a moral policy choice by the ANC.

        • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

          You are parading your ignorance in public. Any donkey would know that South Africa has peace keepers in Darfur that were one reason on the Al Bashir matter given by Nosiviwe. You think that the US is a paragon of virtue when it has supported the most vile governments that includes Israel. This includes Pinochet, Norieaga,
          the Dergue, Mobutu in the DRC, and the many coups it supported. It is the least country to talk of human rights and governance as they have been supporters of vile regimes that includes Egypt, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar and other undemocratic regimes as well as Saddam Hussein when it suited them.. Their record is appalling and we are not fools like the stupid Coons. We are not going to be threatened on the Palestinian question by a country with no respect of the nternational law and human rights except when it suits them. Their terrorists are not our terrorists and that must be very clear. They can take their AGOA we will have a country tomorrow.

          • Dee Bee says:

            Had peacekeepers in Darfur – Zuma withdrew them after Bashir left South Africa. From memory, they were badly equipped and ended their tenure surrounded by Sudanese troops until Bashir the butcher (since chucked out by his own people) was safely out of SA. Be careful where you try to pin the donkey’s tail, you may end up making an ass of yourself.

            Second, if you read anything I’ve written, I’ve consistently said I don’t support the US or hold a candle for its foreign policy and have highlighted this – so most of your post is absolutely irrelevant.

            Your final statement sounds very much like Robert Mugabe’s rant at the UK that ‘Blair can have his Britain and I will have my Zimbabwe’. Ended well, didn’t it? Again, chucked out of power in his own palace coup.

          • They can take their Agoa and we will be the loosers. Many businesses will close down and thousands will loos etheir jobs. But that does not seem to worry you – maybe you have a sheltered government job? I concur that the US is a bully but this is not about them – it is about our stupid politicians who seem unable to practice diplomacy. Rather hold the moral high ground and offer to mediate but STAY OUT OF THE FIGHT. We are small poatoes and taking sides in these conflicts can lead to serious economic consequences for us. The stupidity is that none of the countries that the ANC have taken sides with hold any real economic value for us whereas the USA and Europe account for R billions in trade in our favour!

          • Mark Cowell says:

            Yawn Cunningham…concentrate on reducing the slaughter of your fellow Africans first, then step up on the global stage….or is that too complicated for you to get your pre-1917 mind around?

      • Thea Clifford Jackson says:

        By all means be grateful for crumbs swept off the table if you must, but with respect gender issues, ART, LGBTQI issues, abortion rights & legitimised sex work, etc. are insignificant in the greater scheme of social ills: violence against woman, child abuse, rampant drug use, gangsterism, criminal networks controlling the transport and building industries among others, lack of decent housing, missed educational and employment opportunities, institutional corruption, infrastructural collapse. All due to misplaced, outmoded ideological models, sheer ineptness and greed.
        It’s naive to suggest that “we can’t take a moral stand” for fear of the superpowers. This government is immoral, corrupt and incompetent. The dreary wokeness of all-purpose catch phrases like “western imperialism”, “racism”, “colonisation” and “genocide” is no basis for a moral stand.
        You are right about one thing though: people are angry and that anger will find a way of expressing itself. Probably violently. And those Western imperialists will yet again – reluctantly – come to our aid but don’t hold your breath for aid from Russian, Cuba, Iran and the like.

  • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

    You have a lot of comments from some former Apartheid dinosaurs who called the liberation movement in this country terrorists and it is for this reason that we ignore them. We have also not forgotten the links with Apartheid that Israel has had. We know what it means to be called a terrorist by the US and its surrogates and we lived through that until we are where we are. These names and appellations have never taken our humanity out of us nor did they stop us for struggling for justice and national liberation. We made a difference between the American people and thugs who are ignorant like coons as we do so in the support of the Palestinian people who are facing genocide. We are used to racists and we are not going to stoop to their level. If the support for the Palestinians is seen as a support for terrorists, we were there ourselves and we are not bothered by such labels. The Palestinians are not going to wage their struggle on the Israel, American and racist terms but on the terms that their conditions will determine but there is one thing that all and sundry including AGO or no AGO we will stand with Palestine. Americans must live with that as well as the racists.

    • Dee Bee says:

      I appreciate the historical aversion to the US and others for the reasons you outline (and others), but when you say ‘we’ – have you canvassed the auto workers in the Eastern Cape and KZN who could lose their jobs if we lose AGOA? Or the farmworkers in the Western Cape and Mpumalanga? Or the steel workers in Gauteng? Foreign policy is first and foremost an instrument of protecting and furthering the interests of your own state and people – not pissing down your own trouser leg to spite the class bully!

      • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

        In any struggle there is a price to pay that includes jobs, limbs, life, imprisonment and others but that has never stopped any struggle and if it were so, there would be no need for a struggle. We would still be under Apartheid if we took your nonsensical considerations. However, one is very glad to inform you that these workers were at the AGOA summit protesting against the genocide and they are willing to sacrifice. By the way we never asked for permission to struggle against Apartheid from anyone and we are not going to start now.

        • Michael Hayman says:

          Maybe you should go look up the meaning of the word genocide, that you use so liberally. If you referring to Israel, then they sure doing a bad job.

        • Dee Bee says:

          There were the usual professional protestors milling about, the actual workers were working. And AGOA goes so far beyond the Palestine issue, it’s churlish to couch through that prism only – it is about South Africa’s continual stance of ‘whatever the US says we’ll vote against it’ that is ruffling their feathers. As I’ve posted elsewhere here (and many other times on DM), it is time that the so-called ‘revolutionaries’ in South Africa grew up and started putting the interests of ordinary South Africans above their vainglorious tilting at windmills. Previously oppressed people across the world are able to do it, from Vietnam to Ireland and Zambia to Mexico – it’s why their countries are successful or on the path to sucecss, and ours is not.

        • Thea Clifford Jackson says:

          Sacrifices made by struggling heroes are honoured and remembered. The current crop of politicians are no heroes. They have sacrificed any morals on the altar of greed. More fool you for accepting the price they expect you to pay for their excesses.

        • Ben Harper says:

          Hahahaha….so far removed from reality, still partying on that stolen VBS loot?

        • Eyes Wide Shut says:

          The “struggle” should have ended a long time ago. That’s why the ANC and its friends will never succeed. They’re still in struggle, liberation and comrade mode. They’re a liberation struggle. They are NOT a political party. Political parties make sure the country operates as a business. And a political party does what it has to to make lives better for all its people. I think that more than several hundred years of struggling is enough already. How many more jobs, limbs, lives and imprisonment must happen?
          The people of South Africa have struggled enough. How much longer do they need to struggle to survive? And the EFF is exactly the same. It’s in “struggle mode” and is damn well going to convince the poor that they’re hard done by and their only saviour is a one-man party. Liberation organisations (whether imagined or not) can’t change their trajectory because it’s all they know. We’re on a road to nowhere.

    • Ben Harper says:

      and they’re still terrorists

    • Middle aged Mike says:

      “You have a lot of comments from some former Apartheid dinosaurs who called the liberation movement in this country terrorists and it is for this reason that we ignore them.”

      Weak effort. Hamas is a world class terrorist organization by any measure and denying them them that is just unfair. Labeling people with whom you disagree as apartheid dinosaurs is just plain lazy race carding. The fact that you do it in tedious and wordy postings doesn’t make it less so.

    • Mark Cowell says:

      Yawn Cunningham. Come on man, why did you stop your political education pre-1989? Welcome to 2023+. YOU are the dinosaur

  • Penny Philip says:

    It’s their money so they have the right to say where they spend it. The US Govt (& some media) continually ‘dumbs down’ their own population into believing the world is made up of ‘goodies’ & baddies’ & that if you aren’t with them, you must be against them. They never discuss the endless brutal dictatorships they have propped up for generations…… Pinoche, Noriaga, Saddam Hussein, Shah of Iran to name a few.

    • Eyes Wide Shut says:

      Agreed. The US is just as bad as the other powers. But as a previous comment made, countries like ours must unfortunately juggle their affiliations so as not to upset any of the political and economic powers. It doesn’t matter how the party feels. The government must take the correct stand. But the ANC has never been able to separate the two.

  • Stefan Gottlieb says:

    The ANC has clearly chosen sides against the US. I see no reason why they would continue to offer as preferential trade treatment. With an economy as small as ours it’s not that difficult to avoid massively pissing off any of our large trading partners.

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Indira – what about Russian genocide in Syria, Ukraine, Chechnya! Russian colonization in Africa through Wagner? Iranian imperialism in Lebanon through Hizbollah, Hamas etc. All they do is terrorise and murder their own people whilst fomenting, arming, sponsoring and directing murder and violence through their proxies as if no one is intelligent enough to see right through it. It seems that you and Cunningham (who is beyond reason/help and so stuck in the past) are willfully blind in seeing only the actions of 1 side. The point is that US should withdraw AGOA from SA as we do not warrant it by our actions, not hot air words that the anc is so adept at, and give it to nations that deserve and appreciate it.

    • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

      You are wrong. History has proven the US wrong. They have lied about the Iraq war and have spent trillions of dollars trying to build a nation but they have failed dismally. In Afghanistan they have left after 20 years and trillion of dollars let alone their atrocities in that country. They left disgracefully the Taliban they went in to remove. They have destroyed Libya and unleashed Islamic terrorism in the Sahel. They have produced Isil in Iraq after leaving with nothing but dishonour. This follows their disgraceful record of propping up criminal regimes and thugs over the years. On the Palestinian question, South Africa is on the right of history as Netanyahu is a criminal and thug who must face charges at the Hague. We now need to expel the delinquent Ambassador. The Trumpian Coon can proceed with his garbage we will fight his ultra right wing and racist tendencies. We are not an American colony or surrogate state to be tied to their rubbish foreign policy of murder and human rights abuses including in Guantanamo. If they take AGOA well and good we will remain with principles as they supported Apartheid and called us terrorists and there will be nothing new.

      • Mark Cowell says:

        Yawn Cunningham. I’d appreciate your views on Biafra, Rwanda, Gukurahundi….or are we getting too touchy for you? Clean up at home before you export your pre-1917 stagnant views. Blood on YOUR hands

  • Paul T says:

    To cut off your nose to spite your face

  • Hidden Name says:

    What a surprise. Pandoor and ANC once again testing the patience of our major trade partners in pursuit of their questionable policies. Its like they dont learn – and we all have to pay for their mistakes.

  • Agf Agf says:

    The ANC cares for the people of South Africa about as much as Hamas cares for the people of Gaza. Useful pawns and cannon fodder in their ideological endeavors. “Free Palestine”? Yes. Free Palestine from the tyranny of Hamas. Rise up, Palestinians and overthrow the terrorists.

    • Sibusiso Mchunu says:

      Good day, I have two central concerns with your comment:
      Firstly, I think that even if Hamas were to be destroyed another similar organization would spring up in its place since Palestinians just want someone who will show some agency in resisting Israeli aggression outside of empty rhetoric.

      Secondly, the chief cause of this conflict is that Israel is an occupying power and this is not sustainable in the long term and we will continue having more conflicts, taking away Hamas would just be treating the symptom and not the core issue itself.

      Thirdly, I find it a bit intriguing that when it comes to Hamas we have very black and white descriptors when it comes to their behavior with terms such as “terrorist” due to their attack on innocent civilians (which is against international law) however when Israel does it, there seems to always be some justification for their behaviour such as “Israel has the right to defend itself”.

      In the end its easy to pontificate as to whether Hamas is the best solution for Palestine, but clearly Israel won’t be saving them anytime soon, and Palestinians don’t have that luxury.

  • Losing AGOA status will affect South Africa adversely but the elephant in the room is what happens to the South African economy when the USA and Ukraine convince the EU to do the same because of our continued support for Russia?

    • Dee Bee says:

      Yip, it’s the drip-drip of loss that ends up creating the river. The EU already uses non-tariff barriers to penalise our exports and drags its heels in removing them. I’d imagine if we had better, more balanced relations with them, we’d have better trade relations too. 64% of our cars produced here are exported – with 77% of those going to the EU and UK. Toss the US in, and it’s over 80% of our vehicle exports. Take those away, and the industry collapses – it’s simply not competitive at all and the value chain will collapse completely. The vehicle assembly and components sectors account for 112,000 jobs between them directly, and an estimated 300,000 jobs in total with multiplier effects. What would happen if these jobs were lost? And the export revenues?

  • Vic Mash says:

    Just remove us, it’s not like ordinary South Africans are benefitting anyway and we can’t keep quiet whilst Palestinian children are being murdered daily.

  • Lisbeth Scalabrini says:

    My impression is that the Government is living in the past and at the most in the present, but does not think much of the future and certainly not of the consequences of the choices it is making. If it does not get out of its comfortable bubble and face reality, it will be the end of SA as we know it.

  • Joseph du Hecquet says:

    He who plays with fire will get burnt

  • Eyes Wide Shut says:

    I can’t understand how an ideology and evil triumphs over common sense for the greater good. Sympathising, understanding, providing support with supplies to assist the citizens is one thing. Siding with a terrorist group is another. But then birds of a feather…. lest we forget the grenade in Magoos Bar, the St James Massacre by APLA/PAC that had/has ANC roots and bombs in public places. No better.

  • Jacques Otto says:

    It is R48 billion which will be written off annualy if we loose Agoa. It is thousands of jobs which will be lost. Certain car manufacutring plants wont be able to fill the production line capacity and might even think of moving production lines out of South Africa. What i find astounding is that RSA sends peace negotiating delegations to war conflict areas but we have more murders in South Africa annualy then people dying in the wars abroad. The ANC wants teach peace abroad but cant even keep its own citizens safe. These actions has a domino affect which affect our trade agreements and economy. Can anyone explain to me why do we buy the bulk of our oil from Iran and the Middle East and not Africa.

  • Alan Thompson says:

    The point some posters here seem to be missing is this: it is the USA’s choice what they do. If they want to insist we are “friends with their friends”, then they can so. If they want to make the deal contingent on RSA not cosying up to (eg) Russia, or Hamas, they can do so.
    SA has few cards to be play here: it’s the decision of the US.
    It doesn’t really matter whether we like it or not, or if we think it’s unfair; it’s their economy and they can do what they want. They get few benefits from the deal in the greater scheme of their economy.
    The sooner the ANC stopped pretending there was any national interest getting close to Iran or Russia the better. I’ll wait.

  • Brian Doyle says:

    If only Ramaphosa and the ANC had some intelligence, they would realise that their posturing on Russia and Palestine are hurting the people of South Africa. They should spend a lot more time on the problems in our country before postulaing about others. The deaths from murders in South Africa in a year is as frightening as the deaths in the Gaza conflict, but the murders here continue for year after year. This should be a priority, rather sticking their noses in what is happening in other countries

  • Beyond Fedup says:

    Cunningham – you and those who hold similar views are like the coalition of the bitter, twisted and delusional. I don’t hold any torch for the US, but what is at stake here is what is best for SA in terms of our national interest ie where our trade, investment, jobs etc. matter. Cozying up to the evil Putin, Satanist Iran and their bestial proxies etc etc does not serve our national interest. We are supposed to be non-aligned (perhaps the Oxford dictionary will enlighten you as to its meaning) and we hypocritically pontificate about freedom, human rights democracy but align ourselves idiotically and blindly to the most murderous and bestial regimes that don’t afford an iota of freedom, democracy and human rights. You are so stuck in the past and so anti-West that you cant see the wood from the trees. Get past yourself – for your own sake.

    • Cunningham Ngcukana says:

      I have no truck with Putin as he is no different from the Israel thug, Netanyahu. Yes, there are very important national interests that the country has to ensure that it secures but it must never lose its human conscience in the face of criminality by the US and Israel against the Palestinians. One has never lost sight of the jobs that go with the trade benefits of AGOA but we are not vassals of the United States of America that says we must do this and that and we follow and as a people who have suffered greatly under colonialism and oppression and being called names, we have a historic duty to support the people of Palestine against the ongoing genocide perpetrated by Israel with the support of the US. If it means we lose AGOA so be it as there is a price to pay for principles. You do not put things like AGOA i front of us to support criminality or keep quiet in the face of genocide by the UASA through its surrogate, Israel. On the question of Iran , one has clarity on the US pull out from the JCPOA by Trump supported by Biden now. The events of the 7th of October happened in a context not in a vacuum after years of Israel murder of the Palestinians and the 17 years of blockade or open air prison and the pressure cooker was bound to explode. As South Africans we do no choose who represents the Palestinians and we support their right to resist occupation. If it means a nonsense like Coons must do what he wants to do so be it. We stand with the UN Secretary General position.

      • The USA has undoubtably made some really bad moves, globally, trying to insert leaders and governments into countries in an effort to control money and oil. And they should be condemmed for that. But from our perspective (and I think I talk for a lot of people in the Easstern Cape) jobs and business is a lot more important than principles at this point in time. If you can afford , like our ANC politicians , to stand on “principle” as you call it, then I think you have cushy job in government where you will collect your salary, no matter what, at the end of the month but for the rest of us, in the private sector, we have to work for a living. With unemployment where it is right now a job is more important and if that means depending on AGOA for it, then so be it.
        SA is simply too small a player to make any difference in the global space so the best we can do is condemn the war in the middle east, take the moral high ground, offer to mediate but above all STAY OUT OF THE FIGHT. We have nothing to gain by supporting either Israel or Palestine. The curious thing is that the ANC has failed to condemn Russia for any of the atrocities that they have committed like deliberately bombing hospitals and schools (and their colonial agresion) but have had a lot to say about Israel bombing a hospital. I wonder why that is? Perhaps money is more important than principles for our ANC comrades.

      • Joe Irwin says:

        Do we really have a historic duty to support the people of Palestine?

      • Ben Harper says:

        You have NO idea what racism is about until you as a black man go to a conservative muslim country. To the arab you are sub-human and are treated as such.

  • Maureen Mezei says:

    The ANC could always look to its good comrade Putin to make up any economic losses. Actions have consequences.

  • Jack Rollens says:

    Ramaphosa is so corrupt, he surpassed Zuma. Him hooking up with Brics and guess who?

    Putin
    Modi
    Xi Jinping

  • Selwyn Lange says:

    Not as simple as most of the comments make out. China “buys” African interest by investing in various ways. The US takes a different approach encouraging exports to the US (via AGOA) and thereby improving the economy of the African country. Kicking SA out of AGOA will just drive SA more into the arms of Russia et al. The only “solution” is to get the ANC out!

  • Patricia Beukes says:

    Here’s hoping, you get what you deserve at the end of the day, and the ANC deserves nothing!

  • Awareness Publishing Mike says:

    Daily Maverick, please, please! Spare us all the the suffering of having to listen those boring and repetitive ads before we listen to any of these articles. They only serve to deter your readers from reading any article by those two laughing jokers! We really don’t want to hear the same repetitive as twenty times a day!

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