Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), who chairs the Senate finance Committee’s subcommittee on International Trade, Customs and Global Competitiveness, has released a statement threatening Uganda with trade sanctions if that nation proceeds with passing the wide-ranging and draconian Anti-Homosexuality Bill.
In a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Sen. Wyden warns:
As you know, Uganda is a beneficiary of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which was signed in to law in 2000. AGOA provides duty-free treatment to imports originating from beneficiary African countries. Beneficiaries of AGOA must meet certain eligibility criteria, one of which is to not engage in “gross violations of internationally recognized human rights,” and the jurisprudence in the area of international human rights supports respect of sexual orientation and gender identity as human rights. I strongly urge you to communicate immediately to the Ugandan government, and President Yoweri Museveni directly, that Uganda’s beneficiary status under AGOA will be revoked should the proposed legislation be enacted.
Sen. Wyden promises to sponsor legislation to amend America’s trade preference programs “to make clear that failure to appropriately respect sexual orientation and gender identity as human rights shall preclude a country from benefitting from any U.S. trade preference scheme.”