In my last post, I talked about the Africa Commission’s proposals for preference agreements, that give selected developing countries access to selected rich-world markets on a country-by-country basis. The Commission praises the US for loosening its agriculture preferences so that poor countries can export clothing they’ve manufactured to the US without punitive tarrifs – even if the original cloth was sourced from elsewhere. It turns out that far from being extended to the rest of the G8, these provisions are under threat of expiring in the US. I recieved the email below from the One campaign, the US version of Make Poverty History. Now, I haven’t looked into this in detail, but these preferences certainly seem like a good idea. Either way, if you want to see them renewed, the email below suggests things you can do – especially if you’re in the US.

Dear ONE Member,

Unless we take action now, up to 150,000 Africans, mostly women, could lose their jobs.

The “third-country fabric” provision of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) must be renewed before the end of the year. This provision helps African businesses create jobs by allowing them to import fabric that they can then make into clothes to sell in the United States.

In September, ONE Members sent over 160,000 letters to members of Congress. We took out a full page ad in Roll Call, a daily newspaper read by members of Congress, with the names of ONE members who supported renewal of this important provision. We can now build on that momentum by reminding our representatives about this pressing issue today.

Please take a moment to write your representatives

AGOA passed in 2000 and increased trade opportunities in Africa giving some of the world’s poorest people new opportunities to earn a steady income, send their children to school, and build a hopeful future. But the crucial “third-country fabric” provision is set to expire next year.

Our action showed Congress that we support renewing this provision that’s helping Africans continue to work their way out of poverty. Our efforts helped put this on the negotiating table, and now we have one last chance to ensure that it’s passed before this Congress adjourns.

Please take a moment to write your representatives

Without it, hope for many who have benefited from AGOA will fade and tens of thousands could lose their opportunity to work their way out of poverty.

Thank you for your voice,

Josh Peck,