The President of the American Chamber of Commerce Uganda (AMCHAM), Meg Hilbert Jaquay, has said that suspending AGOA will leave over 155,000 people jobless in the US.
According to Jaquay, the US should reconsider suspending AGOA and extend the programme for ten more years, as it has proven to be a beneficial trade agreement between Africa and the United States of America.
“It has created more than 155,000 jobs in the US, and suspending it will make all these people jobless,” said Jaquay.
Jaquay made these remarks in response to US President Joe Biden’s announcement that the US will be ending its support for AGOA in January 2024, a move she says will not only affect Uganda but the US too.
“Our deputy secretary, Don Graves, is in South Africa alongside representatives from other African countries, attending the 20th Annual AGOA Forum, and the minister of USA exporters will be in attendance. Our representatives will kindly ask him to reconsider and extend the programme for ten years,” said Jaquay.
She noted that Uganda has made significant growth in exports during the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing some of our east African neighbors. Adding to that, Uganda’s trade with the US in 2022 was USD 174 million across many sectors, including coffee, vanilla, tea, and crafts, among others.
“As we wait for the response from the meeting between the Ugandan team and the US government, which we eagerly anticipate to be positive, we urge our valued Ugandan exporters to keep producing exceptional products for the USA and other markets,” said Jaquay.
According to Jaquay, AMCHAM Uganda will persist in collaborating with Ugandan local US government officials and Ugandan government officials to foster the expansion of US interest and investment in Uganda.
This follows the recommendation made by US President Biden to temporarily suspend Uganda from duty-free benefits provided by AGOA, citing non-compliance with AGOA eligibility, specifically regarding human rights and governance issues.