On December 29, 2009, President Obama issued a proclamation in which he designated Mauritania as both an eligible and beneficiary sub-Saharan African country under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), and determined that Mauritania met the statutory requirements as a lesser developed beneficiary sub-Saharan African country under section 112(c) of the AGOA, which provides special rules for certain apparel articles imported from countries so designated. The President terminated the designation of Guinea, Madagascar and Niger as beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries. The redesignations of Guinea, Madagascar and Niger took effect on January 1, 2010; the designation of Mauritania took effect on December 23, 2009.

On December 30, 2009, President Obama issued a proclamation determining that Croatia and Equatorial Guinea have become “high income” countries, and terminating their status as beneficiary developing countries under the GSP program, effective January 1, 2011. Effective January 1, 2010, the President also terminated the designation of Cape Verde as a least-developed beneficiary country, and Trinidad and Tobago as a beneficiary developing country. In addition, the President redesignated Maldives as a beneficiary developing country, the designation of which had previously been suspended, with respect to goods entered into the United States on or after December 23, 2009.

The President’s December 30 proclamation also extended certain tariff concessions for agricultural products from Israel for one year, and made several technical amendments to the rules of origin under the US-Dominican Republic-Central America, North American, US-Chile and US-Singapore Free Trade Agreements.

Under the AGOA and GSP, eligible imports from beneficiary countries are entered into the United States at a free rate of duty.