LESOTHO CONTINUES WITH AGOA – TRADE
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Joshua Setipa announced, during
a press conference on Friday that Lesotho will continue being party to
Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) saving 40 000 jobs.
He said he was informed through a telephone conversation with one of the
United States Officials that following a United States (US) Council
meeting on December 13, Lesotho's eligibility as a beneficiary under
AGOA has not changed.
He narrated that in the past months he received a letter from America
about issues surrounding AGOA eligibility for Lesotho and the government
had to convince the international community that it is working hard to
put things right as inclusive economic development is one of the
coalition government's priorities.
However, Mr. Setipa noted that the US is not backing down on its demands
that need to be addressed by the government, and the main three are the
issue of detained soldiers who the US wants released if there is no case
against them, secondly the amnesty Bill which is said to be too broad
and covers even those individuals who are supposed to have their day in
court, and thirdly to have investigations into the death of Brigadier
Maaparankoe Mahao kick started.
The Minister also confirmed that the second compact of the Millienium
Challenge Corporation has been deferred until the next US board meeting
in March next year, adding that he is to negotiate free trade with
America as soon as possible.
AGOA provides duty-free trading between Lesotho and America. About 40
000 people in Lesotho depend directly on it while about 120 000 citizens
get indirect benefits.
Source: LENA 16/12/2016