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Joe Biden boots Uganda from trade deal over horrific “Kill the Gays” law

President Joe Biden
President Joe Biden Photo: Shutterstock

The U.S. has removed Uganda from the list of nations eligible to benefit from the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) due to the enactment last spring of its horrific “Anti-Homosexuality Act.”

In a December 29 proclamation, President Joe Biden wrote that he had determined that Uganda, along with the Central African Republic, Gabon, and Niger, does not meet the requirements to continue benefiting from the trade deal.

“Accordingly, I have decided to terminate the designations of the Central African Republic, Gabon, Niger, and Uganda as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries for purposes of section 506A of the Trade Act, effective January 1, 2024,” Biden wrote.

The move follows Uganda’s enactment last year of the “Anti-Homosexuality Act.” The law, signed by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni last May, made what it described as “aggravated homosexuality” punishable by the death penalty. It also imposed a life sentence for “recruitment, promotion and funding” of same-sex “activities” and even banned identifying as LGBTQ+.

The law has been called one of the most extreme anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the world and has drawn international condemnation. In a May 29 statement, Biden called for the law to be repealed and said that his administration would incorporate the impacts of the law into its review of the East African nation’s eligibility for AGOA.

In an October 30 letter to the speaker of the House and president pro-tem of the Senate, Biden announced his intention to terminate the designation of the four African nations as AGOA beneficiaries. Specifically, he wrote that Uganda’s government “has engaged in gross violations of internationally recognized 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,” Biden wrote.

Passed in 2000 and extended in 2015, AGOA allows eligible sub-Saharan African nations to export over 1,800 products to the U.S. duty-free, according to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative. Eligibility is reevaluated annually by the U.S. president according to “rigorous” criteria that include enacting policies to reduce poverty, combat corruption, and protect human rights.

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