Country Information - Congo
ECONOMIC BACKGROUNDThe economy is a mixture of village agriculture and handicrafts, an industrial sector based largely on oil, support services, and a government characterized by budget problems and overstaffing. Oil has supplanted forestry as the mainstay of the economy, providing a major share of government revenues and exports. In the early 1980s, rapidly rising oil revenues enabled the government to finance large-scale development projects with GDP growth averaging 5% annually, one of the highest rates in Africa. The government has mortgaged a substantial portion of its oil earnings, contributing to a shortage of revenues. The 12 January 1994 devaluation of Franc Zone currencies by 50% resulted in inflation of 61% in 1994, but inflation has subsided since.
Economic reform efforts continued with the support of international organizations, notably the World Bank and the IMF. The reform program came to a halt in June 1997 when civil war erupted. Denis SASSOU-NGUESSO, who returned to power when the war ended in October 1997, publicly expressed interest in moving forward on economic reforms and privatisation and in renewing cooperation with international financial institutions. However, economic progress was badly hurt by slumping oil prices and the resumption of armed conflict in December 1998, which worsened the republic's budget deficit.
Given a fragile peace, agreements with the IMF and the World Bank, and general international support for reconstruction and development, prospects for structural reform and 4% growth in 2002-03 appear strong. (Source: World Factbook, 2002)
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BI-LATERAL TRADE OVERVIEWThe Republic of Congo is an important trade partner of the United States, and enjoys a significant bi-lateral trade surplus with the U.S. In 2002, the Republic of Congo exported over $ 200 million worth of goods to the U.S., while imports amounted to $ 52 million. While the country’s imports from the US have remained fairly stable, its exports to the US in 2002 decreased by more than half. The current trade surplus with the US stands at almost $ 150 million ($ 383 million in 2001).
Exports falling under AGOA amounted to $ 130 million in 2001, the first full year of operation of the US trade Act (see link to Country Trade Profile below). This decreased to just over $ 100 million in 2002. In 2002, almost 50% of the Congo's exports to the U.S. were AGOA eligible (albeit off a much lower export base). Of all Sub-Saharan African (SSA) exports under AGOA, the value of Congo's exports surpassed those of the majority of other AGOA-eligible countries and ranks within the Top 10. However, the country's AGOA exports were, in 2001 and in 2002, entirely made up of energy-related products (mostly oil).
The Congo's overall exports to the U.S. (see link to Country Trade Profile below) consist predominantly by 'energy-related products', followed by 'minerals and metals'.
Detailed bilateral trade data for this country, disaggregated by industry sector, can be accessed by following the link below. Aggregate data featuring all AGOA-eligible countries is updated on this website as soon as new data is published, including ranked AGOA / non-AGOA trade, aggregate trade by industry sector as well as the latest apparel trade data.
Click here for Detailed Trade Profile
21 AGOA FORUM 2013: Ethiopia will host the 2013 US-Africa AGOA Forum. AGOA.info has been informed that the Forum will not take place as envisaged on 28 June - 1 July, but at a later date yet to be determined. The theme for this year’s Forum is “Trade and Technology for sustained change”“
21 December 2012: Guinea-Bissau and Mali lose AGOA eligibility
APRIL 2013: Monthly data has been updated to include February 2013 data, quarterly includes full year 2012 data.
New US strategy towards Africa: White House Factsheet on new strategy towards Africa, plus overview of past US engagement with Africa. Click here for the file and this link for a summary article.
02 August 2012: Bill to extend third country fabric provision passes Congress Download the House of Reps. Bill at this link
South Sudan declared AGOA-eligible on 26 March 2012. Earlier, Cote d'Ivoire, Niger and Gambia declared AGOA eligible on 25 October 2011. See news item, presidential declaration and trade overview at this link (S Sudan) and here (others).
US GSP extended and GSP benefits to be applied retrospectively for the year 2011 since expiry of previous GSP. See AGOA.info legal documents section at the following link.
AGOA at 10: Reflections on US-Africa trade with a focus on SACU: Tralac Working Paper that can be downloaded at this
December 2010: The Democratic Republic of Congo loses its AGOA eligibility status. See proclamation here (pdf download available at this link
ITC investigation of textiles and apparel: Further details at this link
AGOA IV – Changes to AGOA explained
For disaggregated trade data covering each AGOA country, follow the relevant link in the Country Sections (left column) or click here.
For detailed AGOA maps click here