The US Trade Representative (USTR) has disclosed that it is reviewing trade benefits and grants the United States gives to Ghana under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). They will also withdraw other aids the African country gets from the most powerful country in the world. This announcement came as a response to the Ghana Supreme Court Ruling on Thursday, June 22, 2017 which declared as unconstitutional the admission of two terror suspects from Guantanamo Bay.
In January 2016, Former President John Dramani Mahama made a controversial decision to house the two suspects who were rounded up in connection with the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre in the US. The two, Muhammed Al-Dhuby and Muhammed Bin-Atef, were in detention at Guantanamo Bay.
According to the USTR, the review of the grants, benefits and aids is necessitated by a breach of the agreement the Republic of Ghana had with the United States of America. The Supreme Court ruling also violates AGOA rules.
The AGOA trade program provides eligible sub-Saharan countries duty-free access to the United States on condition they meet certain statutory eligibility requirements, including accepting to do certain favours for the United States.
“Although both Presidents Obama and Mahama are not in office currently, the decision they made is still binding on both countries and must be upheld. Any attempt to undermine the agreement is in bad faith and will face the brush of the bye-laws of the agreement and the laws of the United States,” USTR said in a statement.
The statement also mentioned that the US respects Ghana’s rights as a sovereign country to make its own judicial review processes. However, every decision has consequences and Ghana must be ready to face the repercussions of its supreme court’s decision.
This is the first of actions the US is taking with regards to the supreme court ruling. It is possible that more illegal Ghanaians will be deported from the United States. And there will be stricter immigration laws such as the recent announcement that former presidents will queue for their VISAs like ordinary people.
The Government of Ghana is yet to respond to this threat from the most powerful country in the world. The ministers of foreign affairs and trade have declined to speak on the matter. We will continue to snoop and bring you our government’s reaction.