The US says it will reinstate Mauritania’s benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) programme following an eligibility review.
The reinstatement will be done in January next year after the north-west African country made “substantial and measurable progress on worker rights and eliminating forced labour”, the US Trade office says.
The trade benefits were suspended in 2019 following concerns over workers’ rights violations in Mauritania.
Mauritania’s reinstatement follows US President Joe Biden’s announcement on Tuesday to terminate the Agoa benefits for Gabon, Niger, Uganda and the Central African Republic (CAR).
The US said Gabon and Niger Agoa’s eligibility were terminated because of unconstitutional government changes after coups, while Uganda’s and CAR benefits were terminated based on human rights violations perpetrated by those governments.
Burkina Faso, Mali and Guinea have all previously been expelled from Agoa after military coups in those countries.
Mauritania’s economy is dominated by extractive industries, mainly oil and minerals, which account for over three-quarters of exports. Fisheries, animal and plant farming also contribute a huge percentage to the government’s revenues.
The US-Africa trade programme, introduced in 2000, gives eligible sub-Saharan African countries duty-free access to the US for more than 1,800 products.