no more eggs in one bas­ket

Lesotho Times - - Leader -

LAST week we re­ported that Le­sotho and other African Growth and Op­por­tu­nity Act (AGOA) ben­e­fi­cia­ries face the prospect of los­ing their com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tage if a trade agree­ment be­tween the United States and Pa­cific Rim coun­tries is con­sum­mated.

how­ever, it has since been re­vealed that the 12-coun­try trade agree­ment, called the Trans Pa­cific Part­ner­ship, fell through ow­ing to a log­jam be­tween Canada and Mexico over au­to­mo­bile man­u­fac­tur­ing.

The Trans Pa­cific Part­ner­ship would have re­duced tar­iffs and trade rules among the coun­tries in­volved which in­clude Ja­pan, Brunei, Malaysia, Viet­nam, Sin­ga­pore and Aus­tralia.

It would also have al­lowed very com­pet­i­tive economies such as Viet­nam to do more busi­ness with the us un­der the same priv­i­leges AGOA ben­e­fi­cia­ries cur­rently re­ceive.

Be­fore we pop the cham­pagne to celebrate, the deal could still be fi­nalised and im­ple­mented since the ne­go­ti­a­tions re­main on­go­ing. It is thus only a mat­ter of time be­fore the deal ma­te­ri­alises with AGOA ben­e­fi­cia­ries likely to be caught flat­footed.

This is why Le­sotho can­not af­ford to put her eggs in one bas­ket when it comes to trade. our de­pen­dence on Agoa could be­come this na­tion’s Achilles’ heel if the ben­e­fits of the fa­cil­ity dis­si­pate in the fu­ture.

As re­ported in this edi­tion, Euro­pean union (Eu) Am­bas­sador to Le­sotho, Michael Doyle has pointed out that this na­tion is not fully har­ness­ing its trade agree­ment with the bloc un­der the South­ern African De­vel­op­ment Com­mu­nity Eco­nomic-euro­pean union Part­ner­ship Agree­ment (SADC-EU EPA).

Dr Doyle called on the gov­ern­ment of Le­sotho and pri­vate busi­nesses to work har­mo­niously to in­crease the value of goods that they ex­port to the 500 mil­lion peo­ple strong Eu mar­ket.

We couldn’t agree more with the am­bas­sador and hope­fully gov­ern­ment and the pri­vate sec­tor have taken heed.

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