Background

Importers and others can now 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. USTR will hold a virtual public hearing June 27; pre-hearing written comments, requests to testify, and written testimony are due by June 6; and post-hearing written comments, briefs, supplementary materials, and written statements are due by July 11.

Public comments will be considered in developing recommendations on AGOA country eligibility for 2025. 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 (which is currently scheduled to expire in September 2025), including country eligibility and how to utilize available tariff preferences, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or via email.

For 2024 the following have been designated as beneficiary SSA countries: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Cabo Verde, Chad, Comoros, Cote d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sao Tome & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo, and Zambia.

The following are not currently designated as beneficiary SSA countries: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, 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 applicable eligibility criteria. 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.

Copyright © 2024 Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.; WorldTrade Interactive, Inc. All rights reserved.

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