US President Joe Biden has written to the House of Representatives and the Senate, notifying them of his intention to scrap Uganda and three other African countries from benefitting from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).
In a letter dated October 30, 2023, President Biden said the four countries do not meet the eligibility requirements of section 104 of the AGOA because of what he describes as gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.
“In accordance with section 506A(a)(3)(B) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (19 U.S.C. 2466a(a)(3)(B)), I am providing advance notification of my intent to terminate the designation of the Central African Republic, the Gabonese Republic (Gabon), Niger, and the Republic of Uganda (Uganda) as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA),” he wrote.
The US President said despite intensive engagement, the above countries have failed to address United States concerns about their non-compliance with the AGOA eligibility criteria.
“Specifically, the Government of the Central African Republic has engaged in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights and has not established, or is not making continual progress toward establishing, the protection of internationally recognized worker rights, the rule of law, and political pluralism,” he said.
Niger and the Government of Gabon, he said, have not established, or are not making continual progress toward establishing, the protection of political pluralism and the rule of law. Finally, the Government of Uganda has engaged in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights.
“Accordingly, I intend to terminate the designation of these countries as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under the AGOA, effective January 1, 2024. I will continue to assess whether the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda meet the AGOA eligibility requirements,” he added.
The US introduced the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) in 2000. It grants eligible sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access to the US for more than 1,800 products.
This comes after the US issued a business advisory warning American businesses of the effects of the anti-homosexuality law.
The US had warned that Uganda could lose $400 million (Shs1.4 trillion) in annual support to HIV/Aids care and treatment over the Anti-Homosexuality law that President Joe Biden termed as a “tragic violation of universal Human Rights”.