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AGOA Tariff Preference Eligibility Subject of Annual Review

Monday, July 01, 2019
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

Importers and others have an opportunity to seek changes in the eligibility of sub-Saharan African countries to receive benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act as part of the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative’s annual review. Public comments, which are due no later than Sept. 3, and information presented at an Aug. 27 public hearing will be considered in developing recommendations on AGOA country eligibility for 2020. 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 more information on AGOA, including country eligibility and how to utilize available tariff preferences, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956.

For 2019 the following have been designated as beneficiary SSA countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia.

The following are not currently designated as beneficiary SSA countries and are up for review: Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea (graduated from GSP), Eritrea, Mauritania, Seychelles (graduated from GSP), Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.

The president may designate a country as eligible for AGOA duty-free treatment for certain additional products not included in the Generalized System of Preferences, as well as preferential treatment for certain textile and apparel articles, 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 an AGOA beneficiary is not making continual progress in meeting the eligibility requirements, the designation of that country as a beneficiary must be terminated. However, the president may also withdraw, suspend, or limit the application of duty-free treatment with respect to specific articles from a country if doing so would be more effective in promoting compliance with AGOA eligibility requirements than terminating the designation of the country as a beneficiary.

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