Madagascar's AGOA Eligibility
Madagascar has been a leader in the utilization of the trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) since becoming eligible in October 2000. The Act requires the President to annually designate countries as eligible to receive the benefits of AGOA if they have established, or are making continual progress in certain criteria, including the rule of law and political pluralism. The March 2009 undemocratic transfer of power and the inability to establish a return to democracy have violated one of the vital criteria for Madagascar’s continued eligibility for these trade preferences. The U.S. Government urges the Malagasy political leadership to take concrete steps toward reestablishing a constitutional democratic government and the rule of law. These steps include the announcement of the full Transitional Government Cabinet; establishment of a National Reconciliation Council; clear progress toward establishing an Independent Electoral Commission; and setting an election deadline with an update of those election plans for the international community. Failure to achieve these benchmarks by December 15, 2009 would seriously threaten Madagascar’s continued eligibility for AGOA’s trade benefits in 2010. The United States Government reiterates its demand that Madagascar’s political leadership move forward rapidly towards the establishment of democratic constitutional rule. Additional delay in meeting these benchmarks will undermine Madagascar’s credibility and its prospects for continued eligibility for AGOA benefits.