Biden to Remove Burkina Faso from the US-Africa Trade Pact
Following a September military takeover in Burkina Faso, President Joseph Biden announced on November 2nd that Burkina Faso will be removed from the AGOA trade program on January 1, 2023.
The decision comes in the wake of two coups that rocked the Sahel country this year due to frustrations over the inability to stop a seven-year Islamist insurgency that has claimed thousands of lives and driven close to 2 million people from their homes.
The situation seems to worsen as the government still has no control over one-third of the country’s territory.
President Biden, in a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate, said, “I am taking this step because I have determined that the Government of Burkina Faso has not established, or is not making continual progress toward establishing, the protection of the rule of law and of political pluralism, as stated in the eligibility requirements of Section 104 of the AGOA.”
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In a statement, US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai said, “Our administration is deeply concerned by the unconstitutional changes in government in Burkina Faso.”
She added, “Washington urges Burkina Faso to take the necessary actions to meet the statutory criteria and return to elective democracy.”
In addition to the more than 5,000 products that are eligible for duty-free access under the Generalized System of Preferences program, AGOA grants eligible sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access to the U.S. market for over 1,800 products.
The USTR website stated that 38 countries qualified for AGOA benefits in 2020.
The agreement was revised in 2015 by Congress, which also extended the program through 2025.
Burkina Faso would share the same fate as other non-democratic nations. The US said last year that it was withdrawing Ethiopia from the AGOA program, along with coup-torn Guinea and Mali.