A chance to help Africa

Trade bill: Senate should remove quotas and tariffs to help the poorest become self-sufficient.

November 04, 1999

THE ENDEMIC poverty of most of Africa helps no one. Helping the poorest countries develop self-sustaining growth is in the world's interest as well as their citizens'.

The U.S. Senate could take a significant step by passing the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which would end tariff and quota trade barriers to countries that open their markets to foreign investment.

Twice passed by the House of Representatives, this bill would be the first free trade legislation enacted since the North American Free Trade Agreement with Mexico and Canada in 1994.

The Senate version, which adds Caribbean and Central American countries, would have to be reconciled with the House bill, which is restricted to Africa. But it should be passed in time to give President Clinton a free-trade credential before the Nov. 30 meeting of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Seattle.

Indications are that, on its own merits, the act can be approved. It would help the poorest countries with the least capital and lowest life expectancies to help themselves.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.