US cuts Swaziland from lucrative trade pact

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

    US cuts Swaziland from lucrative trade pact
    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.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    The woman who cleans up after 'lonely deaths' in Japan

    When somebody dies lonely and alone, Miyu Kojima steps in to clean their home and organise the mementos of their life.

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    Putin and the 'triumph of Christianity' in Russia

    The rise of the Orthodox Church in Russia appears unstoppable, write filmmakers Glen Ellis and Viktoryia Kolchyna who went to investigate the close ties between the church and Putin.

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    The chill effect: Is India's media running scared?

    Much of India's media spurns a scoop about the son of PM Modi's right-hand man. Plus, NFL as platform for race politics.