Annual Review of Eligibility for AGOA Duty Preferences Launched by USTR
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative is conducting its annual review of the eligibility of sub-Saharan African countries to receive benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. Public comments, which are due no later than Oct. 25, will be considered in developing recommendations on AGOA country eligibility for 2015. In addition, comments related to the AGOA child labor criteria may be considered by the Department of Labor as it prepares its required report on that issue.
For 2014 the following have been designated as beneficiary SSA countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda and Zambia.
The following have not been designated as beneficiary SSA countries in 2014 and are up for review: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe.
The president may designate a country as eligible for AGOA’s additional Generalized System of Preferences benefits, as well as the textile and apparel benefits if certain statutory requirements intended to prevent unlawful transshipment are met, if that country meets the eligibility criteria set forth in section 104 of the AGOA and section 502 of the 1974 Trade Act. These requirements include that the country has established or is making substantial progress toward establishing, among other things, a market-based economy, the rule of law, political pluralism, the right to due process, the elimination of barriers to U.S. trade and investment, economic policies to reduce poverty, a system to combat corruption and bribery, and the protection of internationally recognized worker rights. In addition, the country may not engage in activities that undermine U.S. national security or foreign policy interests or engage in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights. If the president determines that a beneficiary is not making continual progress in meeting the eligibility requirements, the designation of that country as a beneficiary must be terminated.