Background

President Biden announced Nov. 2 that he plans to terminate duty-free benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act for Ethiopia, Guinea, and Mali. U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai said this step will be effective Jan. 1, 2022, “absent urgent action to meet statutory eligibility criteria.”

The president explained that these countries are not in compliance with AGOA eligibility requirements: Ethiopia, for gross human rights violations in connection with a widening conflict in its northern region; and Guinea and Mali for rule of law issues in connection with what Tai said was “the unconstitutional change in governments” in both countries. Mali was also cited for not protecting worker rights and not addressing gross human rights violations. 

Tai said she will “provide each country with clear benchmarks for a pathway toward reinstatement” to AGOA eligibility and that the Biden administration “will work with them to achieve that objective.”

Although none of these three countries is a major exporter of goods to the U.S. under AGOA, USTR reports that Ethiopia shipped $246 million worth of such goods in 2019, mostly apparel, travel goods, cut flowers, and footwear.

For more information on AGOA, including country eligibility and how to utilize available tariff preferences, please contact Nicole Bivens Collinson at (202) 730-4956 or via email.

Copyright © 2021 Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg, P.A.; WorldTrade Interactive, Inc. All rights reserved.

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