President Biden has taken action to reinstate the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade preference program benefits for one nation, Mauritania.
Simultaneously, he has decided to terminate benefits for four countries, specifically Gabon, Niger, the Central African Republic, and Uganda, effective from January 1, 2024.
Mauritania’s eligibility for AGOA benefits will be restored due to the significant progress made since the termination of its benefits in 2019, primarily concerning worker rights concerns.
The government’s commitment to cooperating with the United States to make substantial strides in worker rights and eliminating forced labor has been a contributing factor.
Ambassador Katherine Tai emphasized that while Mauritania has made progress, there is more work to be done. The partnership, support, and empowerment of labor, civil, and human rights organizations will play a vital role in Mauritania’s success. AGOA will closely monitor the country’s efforts to protect internationally recognized worker rights, with a particular focus on eradicating hereditary slavery.
On the other hand, Gabon and Niger will have their AGOA eligibility terminated due to unconstitutional changes of government within these countries. The Central African Republic and Uganda will also lose AGOA benefits, primarily due to gross violations of internationally recognized human rights by their respective governments.
Ambassador Tai highlighted the urgency of necessary changes in these four countries to align with AGOA eligibility criteria.
The United States has encouraged these governments to take actions that meet the criteria, allowing the resumption of valued trading partnerships. Clear benchmarks for reinstatement will be provided to each of these countries, and the U.S. Administration is committed to working with them to achievethis objective.