Zambia has secured its eligibility for tariff preferences under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for another year, United States President George Bush announced this week.

According to Zambian Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry public relations officer Conrad Simuchile, the development signified the country's continued progress towards a market-based economy, free trade and workers' rights protection.

Eligibility for continued AGOA preferences is granted on an annual basis.

Zambia is among 38 out of 48 sub-Saharan African countries eligible for the AGOA scheme, although it is one of only 19 to receive textile and apparel benefits.

Fewer than 10 AGOA participants, Zambia included, also qualify for AGOA's hand-loomed, handmade and 'folklore' textile and apparel provisions.

AGOA was signed into law by former US President Bill Clinton in May 2000.