TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Southern Africa: AGOA Exports Threatened By Dropping of Quotas

Wednesday, 17 March 2004

Source: New Vision (Kampala)

Former US assistant trade representative for Africa, Rosa Whitaker, has denied that her business dealings with Uganda were in breach of US government ethical rules.

UgandaShe also denied discussing her private consulting business with Ugandan officials while she held the US government job.

An American newspaper, Los Angeles Times, last Wednesday said "the case of Rosa Whitaker stands out as an example of why Washington officials are increasingly debating what constitutes a conflict of interest in such comings and goings."

Whitaker left the US government on December 20, 2002, to form the Whitaker Group, a private consulting firm.

"I was fully conscious of my legal and ethical obligations, and have been scrupulous in my compliance with both the letter and the spirit of the law," Whitaker told the Times.

The paper said "six days after she left the trade office, she received a free round-trip ticket from Uganda.

Her consulting firm soon landed a $300,000-a-year contract to advise Uganda on how to benefit from (the African Growth and Opportunity Act or AGOA) trade law she helped write."

"By March, she had signed a contract with Ghana, also for $300,000 a year, to consult on the law," the Times said.

Whitaker told the paper that she did not discuss future work for any African country while at the trade representative's office.

"I did not solicit clients or business, nor did I discuss my career plans with the officials or representatives of any African country while in government. It's not a conflict to work in government and then come out and work on similar initiatives," she said.

The paper said Whitaker had developed a close friendship with President Yoweri Museveni while at her US government job.

It also quoted MP Aggrey Awori as saying that Uganda's Parliament was probing Uganda's participation in AGOA, and how Whitaker got her contract with the government.

"Her relationship to the president has enhanced her business prospects here," Awori said.

Awori said yesterday he had been interviewed by the Times and that the parliamentary finance committee was investigating Whitaker's contract.

The Los Angeles Times said Whitaker blamed the controversy about her support for Uganda "on long-standing political and personal vendetta" against Museveni.



“AGOA Latest AGOA Trade Data on AGOA.info

Click here to view a sector profile of Uganda’s bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.



Other regularly updated trade statistics on AGOA.info include:

  • AGOA-beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.