US to Terminate Cameroon’s Preferential Trade Status

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The White House plans to end Cameroon’s preferential trade status in 2020 because of alleged human rights violations, a charge the West African nation’s government disputes.  

U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision in a written message to Congress on Thursday, saying Cameroon’s government “engages in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights…[including] extrajudicial killings, arbitrary and unlawful detention, and torture.” 
 
As of Jan. 1, Cameroon would be removed from the list of countries benefiting from the African Growth and Opportunity Act.  The 2000 law aims to stimulate U.S. trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa and bolster economic growth in the region, primarily by enabling participating countries to market goods to the United States duty-free.

Cameroon is the United States’ 128th-largest trading partner, with $413 million worth of goods exchanged in 2018, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Last year’s top U.S. exports to Cameroon included machinery, steel and iron products, and plastics. The top imports from Cameroon included mineral fuels, wood products and cocoa. 

The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a United States Trade Act, enacted on 18 May 2000 as Public Law 106 of the 200th Congress. The legislation significantly enhances market access to the US for qualifying Sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. Qualification for AGOA preferences is based on a set of conditions contained in the AGOA legislation.

In order to qualify and remain eligible for AGOA, each country must be working to improve its rule of law, human rights, and respect for core labor standards.

Source: VOA