US to Remove, Uganda, Gabon, Niger, and Central African Republic from Trade Program

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, President Joe Biden, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken attend the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit Closing Session on Promoting Food Security and Food Systems Resilience, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, in Washington, D.C., U.S. December 15, 2022. REUTERS/Ken Cedeno

Washington DC | THE BLACK EXAMINER | On Monday, U.S. President Joe Biden announced his decision to terminate the participation of Gabon, Niger, Uganda, and the Central African Republic in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade program.

Biden cited “gross violations” of internationally recognized human rights as the reason for this move in the case of the Central African Republic and Uganda. Additionally, he pointed out that Niger and Gabon had failed to establish or make continuous progress toward safeguarding political pluralism and the rule of law.

In a letter to the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Biden explained, “Despite extensive engagement between the United States and the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda, these countries have not adequately addressed U.S. concerns regarding their non-compliance with AGOA eligibility criteria.”

The termination of these countries’ designation as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under AGOA will take effect on January 1, 2024. Biden also mentioned that ongoing assessments will determine whether they meet the program’s eligibility requirements.

AGOA, established in 2000, grants qualifying countries duty-free access to the U.S. market. Although AGOA is set to expire in September 2025, discussions are already underway to consider its extension and the duration of such an extension. African governments and industry groups are advocating for a 10-year extension without alterations to provide assurance to businesses and potential investors concerned about AGOA’s future.

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