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U.S. Removes Swaziland, Reinstates Madagascar for AGOA Benefits

Tuesday, July 01, 2014
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

President Obama issued June 26 a proclamation making two changes to the list of sub-Saharan African countries eligible for benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.

Madagascar, which had been removed from AGOA on Jan. 1, 2010, following a coup the previous year, has been reinstated effective June 26 in recognition of its return to democratic rule and its president’s commitment to promoting transparency, combating corruption and beginning to rebuild the country’s economy.

Swaziland will be removed as of Jan. 1, 2015, after the U.S. concluded that there has been insufficient progress toward the protection of internationally recognized worker rights, citing in particular the government’s “use of security forces and arbitrary arrests to stifle peaceful demonstrations and the lack of legal recognition for labor and employer federations.” U.S. Trade Representative Mike Froman said the U.S. hopes to continue engagement with Swaziland in hopes of improving the worker rights situation and eventually restoring AGOA eligibility.

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