USTR Announces New Petition Process to Review AGOA Country Eligibility
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has issued an interim final rule that establishes a petition process to review the eligibility of countries for the benefits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, as required by the Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015. This process will supplement the annual (normal cycle) request for public comments on whether a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country is meeting the AGOA eligibility criteria and requirements.
Petitions filed under this new process must identify the SSA country that would be subject to the review, indicate the specific eligibility requirement or criterion that the petitioner believes warrants review, and include all available supporting arguments and information to explain why a review is warranted. In addition, any petitions requesting an out-of-cycle review under section 111(d)(4) of the AGOA must contain a statement indicating the existence of exceptional circumstances warranting the out-of-cycle review.
USTR will consider a petition in accordance with the schedule published in the Federal Register for the annual (normal cycle) AGOA review process. If a petition for an out-of-cycle review is received at any other time, the AGOA Implementation Subcommittee will determine whether there are exceptional circumstances warranting such a review. If such circumstances exist, USTR will announce a schedule for the review within 30 days of making such a determination.
Parties wishing to submit input on the new petition process may do so by April 18.