US to evict Uganda from AGOA trade program over gross violations of human rights

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Monday that he intends to end the participation of Uganda in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade program. #WhisperEyeNews

Biden said he was taking the step because of “gross violations” of internationally recognized human rights by Uganda President Museveni-led government.

He also Uganda’s failure to establish or make continual progress toward the protection of political pluralism and the rule of law.

“Despite intensive engagement between the United States and Uganda, it has failed to address United States concerns about their non-compliance with the AGOA eligibility criteria,” Biden said in a letter to the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Biden said he intends to terminate the designation of Uganda as a beneficiary of an East African country under the AGOA, effective Jan. 1, 2024.

He also pointed out that NIger, Gabon and Central African Republic will also suffer the same fate as Uganda, in his letter to the US House Speaker.

He said he will continue to assess whether they meet the program’s eligibility requirements.

Launched in 2000, AGOA grants exports from qualifying countries duty-free access to the U.S. market. It is set to expire in September 2025, but discussions are already underway over whether to extend it and for how long.

African governments and industry groups are pushing for an early 10-year extension without changes in order to reassure business and new investors who might have concerns over AGOA’s future.