[QODLink]
Africa

US cuts Swaziland from lucrative trade pact

Country dropped from African Growth and Opportunity Act over its crackdowns on protesters.

Last updated: 27 Jun 2014 07:39
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Swaziland was dropped due to concerns over workers' rights and use of force against demonstrators [AFP]

The US has cut Swaziland from a lucrative duty-free trade programme because of concerns about crackdowns on peaceful demonstrations and poor protection of workers' rights.

Barack Obama, the US president, on Thursday said Swaziland was removed from the Africa Growth Opportunity Act because of its use of force against demonstrations and lack of recognition of labour unions

The act offers preferential access to the US market for goods from some 40 sub-Saharan nations that meet political and economic standards.

Swaziland's exclusion will raise the cost of its exports to the US.

The US trade representative, Michael Froman, said Washington hoped to work with Swaziland to improve conditions so it could return to AGOA.

"The withdrawal of AGOA benefits is not a decision that is taken lightly," Froman said in a statement.

"We have made our concerns very clear to Swaziland over the last several years and we engaged extensively on concrete steps that Swaziland could take to address the concerns."

The US reinstated AGOA benefits for Madagascar, which was dropped after a coup in 2009, following peaceful elections in the country.

US imports from Swaziland have steadily dwindled in recent years to $58.9m in 2013, most of it clothing. Madagascar shipped $179.8m in goods to the US in 2013.

200

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Featured on Al Jazeera
More than one-quarter of Gaza's population has been displaced, causing a humanitarian crisis.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Muslim charities claim discrimination after major UK banks began closing their accounts.
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Featured
In Brussels, NGO staff are being trained to fill the shortfall of field workers in West Africa.
Lawsuit by 6-year-old girl, locked up for a year, reignites debate over indefinite detention of 'boat people'.
Indonesian and Malaysian authorities are keeping a close eye on local supporters of the hard-line Middle East group.
Citizens of the tiny African nation say they're increasingly anxious of the fallout after alleged coup.
A humanitarian crisis and a budget crisis converge in the heart of the human smuggling corridor in Texas.
join our mailing list