US Announces Removal of Uganda and Three African Nations from AGOA Trade Deal: What You Need to Know

US Announces Removal of Uganda and Three African Nations from AGOA Trade Deal. PHOTO COURTESY
US Announces Removal of Uganda and Three African Nations from AGOA Trade Deal. PHOTO COURTESY

President Joe Biden of the United States has announced intentions to remove Uganda, Gabon, Niger, and the Central African Republic (CAR) from a special trade program between the US and Africa.

This decision was made because these countries were found to be either engaged in gross violations of human rights or not advancing toward democratic governance, as stated by the president.

In the year 2000, the US established the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa), which grants eligible sub-Saharan African nations tariff-free entry to the US for over 1,800 products.

President Biden stated that Niger and Gabon, both of which have experienced military takeovers this year, are disqualified from Agoa because they have failed to establish or make consistent strides toward ensuring political diversity and upholding the principles of a just legal system.

He also attributed the exclusion of the Central African Republic (CAR) and Uganda from the program to the severe infringements on internationally acknowledged human rights by their respective governments.

Back in May, the US government had contemplated removing Uganda from Agoa and imposing sanctions on the nation due to the passage of a contentious anti-LGBT law.

Global criticism has been directed at the law that enforces a death penalty for individuals convicted of participating in specific same-sex activities.

“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 said on Monday, in a letter addressed to the speaker of the US House of Representatives.

The beginning of next year marks the commencement of their removal from Agoa, which is expected to have repercussions on their economies.

Agoa is known for fostering exports, stimulating economic growth, and generating employment opportunities in the countries that are part of the agreement.

According to U.S. data, Uganda’s exports to the United States amounted to $174 million in the previous year, whereas during the same time frame, Gabon and Niger reported U.S. exports of $220 million and $73 million, respectively.

Last month, President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda reported that a number of American firms had ceased their textile imports from Uganda due to the implementation of the anti-homosexuality law, a component of the Agoa trade agreement.

“The homosexuals in the US are interfering with our export of textiles. Some of the orders have been cancelled there,” Mr Museveni was quoted as saying by the privately owned Daily Monitor newspaper.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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