Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA), joined by Ranking Member Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Reps. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and Karen Bass (D-CA), introduced today the AGOA and MCA Modernization Act (H.R. 3445).  The bipartisan legislation strengthens both the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Millennium Challenge Act (MCA).

AGOA is landmark trade legislation first passed in 2000 to develop a trade relationship between the United States and the nations of sub-Saharan Africa.  And MCA established the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), which provides large-scale grants to promote economic growth opportunities in developing countries committed to good governance.  Together, these laws have helped increase trade between the U.S. and Africa.

On the introduction of H.R. 3445, Chairman Royce, Ranking Member Engel, Rep. Smith and Rep. Bass said: “Moving developing countries away from aid and toward trade helps African companies, especially women.  But it also benefits U.S. farmers, manufacturers and small businesses by providing new markets for their goods.  So today we are introducing a bill to modernize AGOA and MCA – key laws in the effort to encourage African economic independence and promote U.S.-Africa trade.  With Africa’s consumer spending expected to reach one trillion dollars, now is the time to accelerate this important trade relationship.”

Specifically the bill:

  • creates a website to make information about AGOA benefits more readily available to both sub-Saharan partners and the American people;
  • encourages policies that promote trade and cooperation while providing much-needed technical assistance to help eligible partners fully utilize AGOA;
  • gives the MCC increased flexibility to promote regional trade, collaboration, and economic integration by allowing up to two simultaneous compacts with an eligible country;
  • provides stability for MCC’s operations by enabling its private-sector board members to extend their terms for up to two years, until a replacement has been confirmed by the United States Senate; and
  • enhances the transparency and accountability of the MCC by strengthening reporting requirements.

A section-by-section summary of the legislation is available HERE.