Friday, August 14, 2015

African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA): Request for Public Comments on Annual Review of Country Eligibility for Benefits Under AGOA in Calendar Year 2016; Scheduling of Hearing, and Request for Public Comments

The Office of the United States Trade Representative has announced the initiation the annual review of the eligibility of the sub-Saharan African countries to receive the benefits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act ("AGOA").

DATES: September 3, 2015: Deadline for filing requests to appear at the September 10, 2015 public hearing, and for filing pre-hearing briefs, statements, or comments on sub-Saharan African countries' AGOA eligibility. September 10, 2015: AGOA Implementation Subcommittee will convene a public hearing on AGOA eligibility. September 16, 2015: Deadline for filing post-hearing briefs, statements, or comments on this matter.

The President may designate a country as a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country eligible for these benefits of AGOA if he determines that the country meets the eligibility criteria.

Section 104 of AGOA includes requirements that the country has established or is making continual progress toward establishing, inter alia: A market-based economy; the rule of law, political pluralism, and 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. Please see section 104 of AGOA and section 502 of the 1974 Act for a complete list of the AGOA eligibility criteria.

For 2015, 39 countries were designated as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries:

  1. Angola
  2. Republic of Benin
  3. Republic of Botswana
  4. Burkina Faso
  5. Burundi
  6. Republic of Cabo Verde
  7. Republic of Cameroon
  8. Republic of Chad
  9. Federal Islamic Republic of Comoros
  10. Republic of Congo
  11. Republic of Cote d'Ivoire
  12. Republic of Djibouti
  13. Ethiopia
  14. Gabonese Republic
  15. Republic of Ghana
  16. Republic of Guinea
  17. Republic of Guinea-Bissau
  18. Republic of Kenya
  19. Kingdom of Lesotho
  20. Republic of Liberia
  21. Republic of Madagascar
  22. Republic of Malawi
  23. Republic of Mali
  24. Islamic Republic of Mauritania
  25. Republic of Mauritius
  26. Republic of Mozambique
  27. Republic of Namibia
  28. Republic of Niger
  29. Federal Republic of Nigeria
  30. Republic of Rwanda
  31. Sao Tome & Principe
  32. Republic of Senegal
  33. Republic of Seychelles
  34. Republic of Sierra Leone
  35. Republic of South Africa
  36. United Republic of Tanzania
  37. Republic of Togo
  38. Republic of Uganda
  39. Republic of Zambia

The following sub-Saharan African countries were not designated as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries in 2015:

  1. Central African Republic
  2. Democratic Republic of Congo
  3. The Gambia
  4. Republic of Equatorial Guinea
  5. State of Eritrea
  6. Somalia
  7. Republic of South Sudan
  8. Republic of Sudan
  9. Kingdom of Swaziland
  10. Republic of Zimbabwe

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