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(US) United States severs trade ties with Cameroon, cites rights violations as reason



The United States of America will end certain preferential trade benefits with Cameroon in January due to the country’s poor human rights record, officials said on Thursday.
Under the US African Growth and Opportunity Act of 2000 , legislation aimed at boosting sub-Saharan economies, countries must avoid serious human rights violations to gain preferential access to the US markets.
“ The US government remains deeply concerned by the persistent gross violations of human
rights being committed by the Cameroonian
government against its own citizens,” Deputy US Trade Representative C.J. Mahoney said in a statement.
The US State Department earlier this year spoke on the conflict in western regions of the country between Cameroonian security forces and Anglophone separatists which had involved arbitrary killings, enforced disappearances and torture by both sides.
The US department also accused Cameroonian authorities of violence against journalists, refoulement of refugees, restrictions on internet
access and failure to prevent or prosecute instances of “corrective” rape against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people amongst other abuses.
Cameroonian strongman Paul Biya has been in power for 37 years.
The United States imported $ 220 million in Cameroonian goods last year, making the country the 112th – largest source of American merchandise imports, according to the US Trade
Representative ’ s office.
Imports included mineral fuels, lumber , cocoa
and rubber while US exports to Cameroon last year amounted to $ 193 million, including machinery, iron and steel, plastics and railway equipment. 
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