ANNOUNCEMENT 26 Dec 2019

On December 26, 2019 President Trump signed a proclamation making several changes in the application of preferential treatment to imports from certain developing countries.

 

NUMBER OF INTERVENTIONS

2

  • 1 harmful
  • 0 neutral
  • 1 liberalising
Inception date: 01 Jan 2020 | Removal date: open ended

Import tariff

On December 26, 2019 President Trump signed a proclamation making several changes in the application of preferential treatment to imports from certain developing countries. Some of these actions fall outside the scope of GTA reporting, insofar as they relate more to foreign policy than to trade policy; that description applied to the suspension of Cameroon as a beneficiary of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for reasons related to that country’s domestic policies.

Other items in the proclamation concern commercial policy per se. One such item is the presidential determination that Niger, the Central African Republic, and The Gambia have not established effective visa systems and related customs procedures meeting the requirements of AGOA section 113. This determination means the three countries’ textile and apparel benefits under AGOA are rescinded effective January 1, 2020.

The actual impact of this order may be limited. It theoretically affects the tariff treatment of the hundreds of products that are classified under chapters 50 through 63 of the Harmonized System, and in actual practice the United States imports about 135 6-digit apparel items from AGOA beneficiary countries, but in practice the three countries subject to this order are not actually affected. Apart from $4300 worth of goods imported under AGOA from The Gambia in 2018, and $1000 worth of goods imported from Nigeria in the first ten months of 2019, the program has been completely unused by these countries in recent years.

AFFECTED SECTORS

 
Inception date: 01 Jan 2020 | Removal date: open ended

Import tariff

The removal of those benefits for Niger comes at the same time as some other aspects of that country's AGOA benefits are expanded. The president determined that this country, as well as Guinea-Bissau, satisfy the criterion for treatment as “lesser developed beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries” under AGOA and thus eligible for a variety of expanded benefits (e.g., more permissive rules of origin for textile and apparel products). It is uncertain how much of an impact this decision will have on U.S. imports from these two countries, neither of which used the AGOA at all in either 2018 or 2019.