Leaders of 50 African countries convened in Washington for the U.S.-Africa Leaders' Summit, hosted by President Obama on August 4–6. The three-day summit included a White House dinner as well as fora on business, leadership, investment, and trade. The Summit was the first event of its breadth to involve representatives of every country in Africa that maintains positive relations with the United States.
A centerpiece of the discussion at the Summit was the potential renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which has provided African exporters with tariff-free access to the American marketplace for 14 years. If not renewed, AGOA is set to expire on September 30, 2015. The unilateral preference program currently applies to 97.5 percent of tariff line items, but it could be expanded to include some of the remaining 316 politically sensitive tariff line items, which are mostly agricultural products. Consistent with AGOA's goals of increasing access to and utilization of foreign markets, Summit participants suggested that AGOA renewal could include infrastructure investment and synchronization of regulatory practices.