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Joe Biden to Remove Four African Nations from AGOA Trade Program Over Human Rights Concerns

U.S. President Joe Biden announced on Monday his intention to terminate the participation of four African nations – Gabon, Niger, Uganda, and the Central African Republic – in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade program. This decision comes in response to what President Biden described as “gross violations” of internationally recognized human rights by the Central African Republic and Uganda.
Joe Biden’s Reasons Behind the Decision
Biden’s move is grounded in concerns regarding human rights violations and the failure of Niger and Gabon to establish or consistently progress in protecting political pluralism and the rule of law. While the United States engaged intensively with these countries, the issues raised concerning AGOA eligibility criteria were not adequately addressed, prompting the decision.
“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 stated in a letter to the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.
Effective January 1, 2024
Biden’s announcement outlines the effective date for the termination of AGOA eligibility for these four African nations as January 1, 2024. During the coming months, the Biden administration will continue to assess whether these countries meet the eligibility requirements set forth by the AGOA program.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was initiated in the year 2000 and has been pivotal in granting qualifying countries in Africa duty-free access to the U.S. market. This trade program has significantly benefited participating nations by boosting their exports to the United States. AGOA is set to expire in September 2025, but discussions are already underway to determine its future, including the possibility of extending its duration.
President Biden’s decision to remove the four African nations from AGOA reflects the United States’ commitment to upholding human rights and adherence to AGOA eligibility criteria. As discussions continue on the future of AGOA, the implications of this decision on trade relations and diplomatic ties will be closely monitored by governments, industries, and stakeholders on both sides.
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