“The United States today suspended Ethiopia, Mali and Guinea from the AGOA trade preference program, due to actions taken by their respective governments in violation of the AGOA Statutes,” the US Trade Representative (USTR) said in a statement.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was enacted in 2000 under the administration of former president Bill Clinton to facilitate and regulate trade between the United States and Africa.
“However, the United States is deeply concerned by the unconstitutional changes in government in Guinea and Mali,” the statement continued.
The statement also voiced concern about “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed by the Ethiopian government and others amid the widespread conflict in northern Ethiopia”.
“Each country has clear benchmarks for the path to recovery and governments will work with their governments to achieve that goal,” the USTR said.
Under the AGOA agreement, thousands of African products can benefit from reduced import taxes, provided they comply with requirements related to human rights, good governance, and worker protection, and do not impose customs bans on American products on their territory.
In 2020, 38 countries are eligible for AGOA, according to the USTR website. The agreement was modernized in 2015 by the US Congress, which also extended the program to 2025.