The US government is being urged to threaten to remove Uganda from the list of African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) beneficiary countries after it tabled a bill proposing execution for some gay people.

The Anti-Homosexuality Bill proposes seven-year jail terms for homosexuals and the death penalty for convicts of aggravated homosexuality.

But Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee's subcommittee on International Trade, wants Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk to tell the Ugandan government that AGOA status would be revoked if the legislation is enacted.

In a letter delivered on Tuesday, Wyden said the country would be in violation of eligibility criteria for AGOA, which requires that beneficiaries do not engage in "gross violations of internationally recognised human rights."

Uganda's garment and textile exports to the US have been helped by AGOA's duty-free trade benefits since 2000, although figures show shipments have fallen by 68% from $1.252m in 2006 to 0.403m in 2008.

In recent weeks Madagascar, Guinea and Niger have all seen their AGOA trade benefits terminated by the US.

In the case of Madagascar it was deemed the country had failed to make "progress" in meeting the requirements of the US trade pact.