TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Uganda Moves to Prevent AGOA Expulsion

Thursday, 08 September 2005

Source: The Monitor (Kampala)

The Uganda government is moving fast to amend the labour law over which American labour organisations petitioned President George Bush's administration to drop Uganda from the Agoa trade agreement.

Daily Monitor has learnt that some of the sections in the law like allowing workers to form unions are to be changed. The Minister of Labour and Social Services, Ms Zoe Bakoko Bakoru, confirmed the development to Daily Monitor yesterday. "Unionisation under the law is being addressed. Once its done, all will be well," Bakoko said in a telephone interview.

According to the US embassy in Kampala, Uganda's labour laws have prompted the US government to review its status. "Based on the labour concerns, the U.S. government is reviewing Uganda's qualifications for Agoa status. The office of the US Trade Representative is responsible for conducting this review," a statement from the embassy sent to Daily Monitor yesterday read.

The American organisations under the American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organisations accuse the Uganda government of failing to recognise workers' right. Under the Workman's Compensation Act of 1964 for example, a worker is entitled to compensation (for any personal injury resulting from an accident arising out and in course of his employment), notice of accident and insurance.

Bakoko said she presented a paper to cabinet this week and was hoping that Parliament moves first to amend the law on trade unions, labour laws, safety and employment as soon as possible.

"But there is no cause for alarm or problem with Agoa. The issue is that the Solidarity Center raised the problem," Bakoko continued.

The Senior Presidential Adviser on Agoa Mr Onegi Obel told Daily Monitor that the issue had been resolved. "Yes it has been resolved and I am going to issue a statement very soon," Obel said yesterday. However, by press time, the statement had not come in.

Under the Agoa project, selected African countries are allowed to export apparels directly to the US market.

The US embassy statement further read that the US government has raised its concern over labour laws in Uganda.

"U.S. officials have already explained the labour concerns to the Ugandan government. The U.S. Embassy continues to consult with the Ugandan government on appropriate measures to address the concerns."

“AGOA Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

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 include: (click each link to view)

  • 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.