TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea and Niger proclaimed AGOA eligible

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Source: AFP and White House (USA)

US President Barack Obama restored privileged US trade partner status Tuesday to Ivory Coast, Niger and Guinea following democratic gains in the African countries, the White House said.

Obama announced his decision after the annual review of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act, which allocates trade preferences and other benefits to certain African countries based on democratic advances or setbacks.

"Today, the President signed a proclamation which restores trade preferences and other benefits to Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, and Niger under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA)," said National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor.

"Each country had previously lost its eligibility for AGOA benefits due to undemocratic changes in government."

The nations held presidential elections in 2010 that were considered free and fair, prompting a review which found all three had made continual progress towards meeting AGOA benchmarks.

Those criteria include the establishment of a market-based economy and the rule of law, the enactment of economic policies designed to reduce poverty and steps to protect worker rights and to combat corruption.

"Today's proclamation is good news for the people of Cote d'Ivoire, Guinea, and Niger, and also for the US businesses and workers trading with and investing in these three African nations," Vietor said.

The announcement came as the president prepared to head to France next week for the G20 summit of developed and developing nations.

Ivory Coast lost its AGOA eligibility after years of political unrest in 2005. In 2010, presidential elections triggered new violence when president Laurent Gbagbo refused to leave office after he lost the elections.

The rightful winner of the polls, Alassane Ouattara, eventually prevailed and was sworn into office in May this year.

Guinea lost its privileges last year after a coup. But after elections viewed by outsiders as free and fair, President Alpha Conde took office last December and legislative elections are expected to take place soon.

Niger lost AGOA eligibility last year after president Mamadou Tanja attempted to stay in power after a second term in office.

Tanja was deposed in a military coup and new elections took place which saw President Mahamadou Issoufou take office in April 2011.




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    Below follows a copy of the presidential declaration:

    Presidential Proclamation -- African Growth and Opportunity Act

    BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

    A PROCLAMATION

    Section 506A(a) (1) of the Trade Act of 1974, as amended (the "1974 Act") (19 U.S.C. 2466a(a)(1)), as added by section 111(a) of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (title I of Public Law 106-200) (AGOA), authorizes the President to designate a country listed in section 107 of the AGOA (19 U.S.C. 3706) as a "beneficiary sub-Saharan African country" if the President determines that the country meets the eligibility requirements set forth in section 104 of the AGOA (19 U.S.C. 3703), as well as the eligibility criteria set forth in section 502 of the 1974 Act (19 U.S.C. 2462).

    Section 104 of the AGOA authorizes the President to designate a country listed in section 107 of the AGOA as an "eligible sub-Saharan African country" if the President determines that the country meets certain eligibility requirements.

    Section 112(c) of the AGOA, as added in section 6002 of the Africa Investment Incentive Act of 2006 (Division D, title VI of Public Law 109-432) (19 U.S.C. 3721(c)), provides special rules for certain apparel articles imported from "lesser developed beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries."

    Pursuant to section 104 of the AGOA and section 506A(a)(1) of the 1974 Act, I have determined that the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire (Côte d'Ivoire), the Republic of Guinea (Guinea), and the Republic of Niger (Niger) meet the eligibility requirements set forth or referenced therein, and I have decided to designate Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, and Niger as eligible sub Saharan African countries and as beneficiary sub Saharan African countries.

    Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, and Niger each satisfy the criterion for treatment as a "lesser developed beneficiary sub Saharan African country" under section 112(c) of the AGOA.

    Section 604 of the 1974 Act (19 U.S.C. 2483), as amended, authorizes the President to embody in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS) the substance of relevant provisions of that Act, or other acts affecting import treatment, and actions taken thereunder.

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, including but not limited to section 104 of the AGOA

    (19 U.S.C. 3703), and title V and section 604 of the 1974 Act (19 U.S.C. 2461-67, 2483), do hereby proclaim that:

    (1) Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, and Niger are designated as eligible sub-Saharan African countries and as beneficiary sub Saharan African countries.

    (2) In order to reflect this designation in the HTS, general note 16(a) to the HTS is modified by inserting in alphabetical sequence in the list of beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries "Republic of Côte d'Ivoire", "Republic of Guinea", and "Republic of Niger".

    (3) For purposes of section 112(c) of the AGOA, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, and Niger are lesser developed beneficiary sub Saharan African countries.

    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

    BARACK OBAMA

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