US reinstates the DR Congo into AGOA trade pact

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is once again able to benefit from the trade preferences offered by the US African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) after outgoing US President Donald Trump issued a proclamation on 4 January reinstating the DRC after almost a decade of exclusion.

The AGOA has been at the core of US economic policy and commercial engagement with Africa since it was enacted in 2000. The Act provides eligible sub-Saharan African countries with duty-free access to the US market for over 1,800 products, in addition to the more than 5,000 products that are eligible for duty-free access under the Generalised System of Preferences programme.

US President Obama suspended the DRC in 2010 over alleged human rights violations under its former President Joseph Kabila. The decision to reinstate affirms the DRC’s progress in meeting AGOA’s eligibility requirements and the efforts of DRC President Félix Tshisekedi, who came into office in 2019, to reform and strengthen the DRC’s democratic institutions, protect human rights and combat corruption.

US Ambassador Mike Hammer said: “The return of DRC to AGOA is a significant achievement that is a clear manifestation of our Privileged Partnership for Peace and Prosperity. The US is committed to continuing to work together in 2021 to make further progress so that the DRC can achieve its true potential for the benefit of the Congolese people. As part of that effort, we will be assisting the DRC to take full advantage of the economic benefits under AGOA.”

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