US to remove Gabon, Niger, Uganda & Central African Republic from trade plan.
AGOA offers duty-free access to the U.S. market for exports from qualifying countries.
AGOA is slated to expire in September 2025.
U.S. President Joe Biden announced on Monday 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.
This decision stems from what he referred to as “gross violations” of internationally recognized human rights by the Central African Republic and Uganda.
Biden cited the failure of Niger and Gabon to either establish or make consistent progress in safeguarding political pluralism and the rule of law.
Biden expressed his disappointment, stating that despite extensive engagement between the United States and these four countries, they have not adequately addressed the concerns regarding their non-compliance with AGOA’s eligibility criteria in a letter addressed to the Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
The termination of these countries’ designation as beneficiary sub-Saharan African nations under AGOA will be effective as of January 1, 2024. Biden also mentioned that he will continue to assess their eligibility for the program.
AGOA, which was initiated in 2000, offers duty-free access to the U.S. market for exports from qualifying countries. Although AGOA is slated to expire in September 2025, discussions have already begun regarding whether to extend it and for what duration.
African governments and industry groups are advocating for an early 10-year extension without alterations to provide reassurance to businesses and potential investors who may be concerned about the future of AGOA.