US grants tariff preferences to 35 African countries

The United States government recently approved the designation of 35 sub-Sahara African countries as eligible for tariff preferences under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The Office of the US Press Secretary reported last week that as required by the legislation, this annual determination signified countries making continued progress toward a market-based economy, the rule of law, free trade, economic policies that will reduce poverty and protection of workers' rights. The Central African Republic, Republic of Congo and Rwanda are among the countries to benefit from the tariff preferences.

"By providing these countries greater access to American markets, AGOA can spur development of an economic relationship between the United States and Africa that is based on shared values and shared responsibilities in a world of free trade, free peoples, and free ideas," the Press Secretary's office reported.

It reiterated that the Bush administration was committed to AGOA's success and to seizing the important opportunities offered by law in fighting poverty and fostering development.

Other countries deemed eligible are Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Sao Tome e Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.