On May 13, 2020, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative published in the Federal Register (85 FR 28695) Annual Review of Country Eligibility for Benefits Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) is announcing the initiation of the annual review of the eligibility of the sub-Saharan African countries to receive the benefits of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The AGOA Implementation Subcommittee of the Trade Policy Staff Committee (AGOA Subcommittee) is developing recommendations for the President on AGOA country eligibility for calendar year 2021. The AGOA Subcommittee requests comments for this review. Due to COVID-19, the AGOA Subcommittee will foster public participation via written submissions rather than an in-person hearing. This notice includes the schedule for submission of comments and responses to questions from the AGOA Subcommittee related to this review.
June 24, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT: Deadline for submission of written comments on the eligibility of sub-Saharan African countries to receive the benefits of AGOA.
July 7, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT: Deadline for the AGOA Subcommittee to pose any questions on written comments.
July 16, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT: Deadline for submission of commenters' responses to questions from the AGOA Subcommittee.
July 25, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT: Deadline for replies from other interested parties to the written comments and responses to questions.
August 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT: Deadline for the AGOA Subcommittee to pose any additional questions on written comments.
August 13, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. EDT: Deadline for submission of responses to any additional questions from the AGOA Subcommittee.
AGOA (Title I of the Trade and Development Act of 2000, Pub. L. 106-200) (19 U.S.C. 2466a et seq.), as amended, authorizes the President to designate sub-Saharan African countries as beneficiaries eligible for duty-free treatment for certain additional products not included for duty-free treatment under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) (Title V of the Trade Act of 1974 (19 U.S.C. 2461 et seq.) (1974 Act), as well as for the preferential treatment for certain textile and apparel articles. The President may designate a country as a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country eligible for AGOA benefits if he determines that the country meets the eligibility criteria set forth in section 104 of AGOA (19 U.S.C. 3703) and section 502 of the 1974 Act (19 U.S.C. 2462).
Section 104 of AGOA includes requirements that the country has established or is making continual progress toward establishing, among other things:
- A market-based economy
- the rule of law
- political pluralism
- right to due process
- the elimination of barriers to U.S. trade and investment
- economic policies to reduce poverty
- system to combat corruption and bribery
- 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. Section 502 of the 1974 Act provides for country eligibility criteria under GSP. For a complete list of the AGOA eligibility criteria and more information on the GSP criteria, see section 104 of the AGOA and section 502 of the 1974 Act.
For 2020, the President designated the following 38 countries as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries:
4. Burkina Faso
5. Cabo Verde
6. Central African Republic
9. Republic of Congo
10. Cote d'Ivoire
15. The Gambia
30. Rwanda (AGOA apparel benefits suspended effective July 31, 2018)
31. Sao Tome & Principe
33. Sierra Leone
34. South Africa
The President did not designate the following sub-Saharan African countries as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries for 2020:
3. Democratic Republic of Congo
4. Equatorial Guinea (graduated from GSP)
7. Seychelles (graduated from GSP)
9. South Sudan
The AGOA Subcommittee is seeking public comments to develop recommendations to the President in connection with the annual review of sub-Saharan African countries' eligibility for AGOA benefits. The Secretary of Labor may consider comments related to the child labor criteria to prepare the U.S. Department of Labor's report on child labor as required under section 504 of the 1974 Act.