U.S. President Barack Obama plans to drop Burundi from a program offering duty-free import access from sub-Saharan African nations that demonstrate good governance.
In a notice to Congress, Obama announced that he intends to "terminate" Burundi as a beneficiary of the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA. The statement e-mailed on Friday didn’t provide a reason for excluding Burundi.
Dozens of people have died since violence broke out in April when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term in Burundi, which has 6 percent of the world’s nickel reserves. Opponents say Nkurunziza’s re-election in July violates a 2005 peace accord. The U.S. has said the polls weren’t credible and called for a political dialog and the formation of a national unity government to ease tensions.
AGOA was first approved by Congress in 2000 to help boost exports from the world’s poorest continent.
U.S. imports from sub-Saharan Africa under the terms of AGOA fell 47 percent to $14.2 billion last year as shipments of petroleum products declined, according to the Department of Commerce. U.S. trade with Burundi fell more than any other sub-Saharan Africa nation, sliding 69 percent to just $5.2 million in 2014 compared with a year earlier.