WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — The Biden administration has decided to remove four African nations from a trade program this week, citing “gross violations” of left-wing values framed as “human rights.”
In an October 30 letter to Republican Rep. Mike Johnson, the newly elected speaker of the House, and to the president of the Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris, President Joe Biden announced his intention to remove the Central African Republic, Uganda, Niger, and Gabon from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The reasons for cutting the four nations off as beneficiaries of the trade agreement are related to what Biden described as a failure to diversify in politics and accept “internationally recognized human rights.”
“The Government of the Central African Republic has engaged in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights and has not established, or is not making continual progress toward establishing, the protection of internationally recognized worker rights, the rule of law, and political pluralism,” the letter states.
In addition to the Central African Republic, Biden specified that the leaders of Niger and Gabon have fallen short of the “political pluralism and rule of law” stipulations in the agreement, while Uganda “engaged in” perceived failures to acknowledge “human rights.”
“Despite intensive engagement between the United States and the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda, these countries have failed to address United States concerns about their non-compliance with the AGOA eligibility criteria,” the letter continues.
The political reasons for removing Gabon and Niger reportedly involve coups in their respective countries resulting in military leadership. On the other hand, the Central African Republic and Uganda do not embrace the LGBT agenda as the United States government does, hence their assessment as rejecting “internationally recognized human rights.”
The removal of the countries comes months after the Ugandan parliament passed its anti-sodomy law, which strictly limits and even criminalizes homosexuality in the nation. The legislation has received criticism from Western politicians, including the Biden administration, but support from other African nations.
Similarly, while the Central African Republic does not criminalize homosexuality, it has sanctions in place forbidding same-sex acts in public.
Biden concluded his letter by declaring his decision “to terminate the designation of these countries as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries under the AGOA, effective January 1, 2024.” The administration will reportedly “continue to assess” the four nations’ eligibility to meet the requirements to be reinstated into the program.
The AGOA allows eligible countries to access the United States’ market duty-free and applies to nearly 2,000 products. Established in 2000, the agreement leans heavily on adherence from the involved nations rather than reciprocal economic actions. Additionally, the Biden administration holds final say as to whether countries are eligible for the act’s benefits.
The “rigorous” requirements to be beneficiaries include “continual progress” in the areas of “market-based economy, the rule of law, political pluralism and the right to due process” as well as “enact[ing] policies to reduce poverty, combat corruption and protect human rights.”