• US President Trump has restored and suspended trade benefits for some countries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
  • Eligibility for both The Gambia and Swaziland to AGOA has been restored.
  • Trump has also restored GSP eligibility for Argentina but partially suspended Ukraine from the programme.

US President Donald Trump has restored eligibility for The Gambia and Swaziland to the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which enables certain products from some sub-Saharan African countries to enter the United States duty-free.

Both The Gambia and Swaziland lost AGOA eligibility in 2015. The Gambia due to human rights abuses and the deterioration of the rule of law, and Swaziland following concerns over restrictions on the freedoms of peaceful assembly, association, and expression.

According to the Office of the US Trade Representative, following democratic elections in December 2016, The Gambia has made progress in strengthening the rule of law, improving human rights, and supporting political pluralism.

Meanwhile, Swaziland recently met the last in a series of benchmarks set by the US related to lifting restrictions on freedoms of assembly, association and expression.

Separately, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is also conducting an AGOA out-of-cycle review for Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda in response to a petition asserting that their phased ban on imports of used clothing is negatively impacting US jobs. The review is ongoing.

AGOA, which was due to expire in September 2015, has been extended for another ten years and will remain in effect until 30 September 2025.  

In addition, President Trump has also restored Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) eligibility for Argentina, which was suspended in 2012, although GSP benefits for Argentina will not be restored for all eligible products. However, the changes will have little immediate impact because GSP expired on 31 December 2017.

Ukraine has been partially suspended from GSP due to its "failure to provide adequate and effective protection of intellectual property rights despite years of encouragement and assistance from the US government." However, President Trump has granted 120 days' notice of the suspension because the government of Ukraine "has a viable path to remedy the situation."

"The United States will vigorously enforce eligibility criteria for preferential access to the US market," said Ambassador Lighthizer. "Beneficiary countries choose to either work with USTR to meet trade preference eligibility criteria or face enforcement actions. The Administration is committed to ensuring that other countries keep their end of the bargain in our trade relationships."