- The termination is to take effect from January 1, 2024.
- Launched in 2000, AGOA grants exports from qualifying countries duty-free access to the U.S. market.
U.S. President Joe Biden has announced his intention to terminate the participation of Gabon, Niger, Uganda, and the Central African Republic in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade program.
The decision comes in response to what he referred to as “serious violations” of internationally recognized human rights by the Central African Republic and Uganda.
Earlier on, the U.S. government had issued a business advisory to notify U.S. businesses, individuals, and other U.S. entities about business risks under Uganda’s recently enacted Anti-Homosexuality Act.
“Despite intensive engagement between the United States and the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda, these countries have failed to address United States concerns about their non-compliance with the AGOA eligibility criteria,” President Biden conveyed in a letter to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
President Biden said he intends to withdraw the beneficiary status of these countries as sub-Saharan African nations under AGOA, with the termination taking effect from January 1, 2024, Reuters reported.
President Biden noted that he will continue to evaluate whether these countries align with the program’s eligibility criteria.
Launched in 2000, AGOA grants exports from qualifying countries duty-free access to the U.S. market. It is set to expire in September 2025, but discussions are already underway over whether to extend it and for how long.
African governments and industry groups are pushing for an early 10-year extension without changes to reassure business and new investors who might have concerns over AGOA’s future.