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Cablegate: Guinea-Bissau Agoa - Input for 2008 President's Report

VZCZCXRO5009
PP RUEHMA RUEHPA
DE RUEHDK #0320 0741121
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 141121Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY DAKAR
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0193
INFO RUEHZK/ECOWAS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY

UNCLAS DAKAR 000320

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR AF/EPS, EB/TPP/BTA AND AF/W

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD PU
SUBJECT: GUINEA-BISSAU AGOA - INPUT FOR 2008 PRESIDENT'S REPORT

REF: STATE 020082

1. Embassy input on Guinea-Bissau follows for the 2008 President's
report on AGOA keyed to the template outlined in reftel and last
year's report as published by USTR. This text will also be provided
to AF/W and AF/EPS via e-mail.

2. Begin Post's input:

AGOA Trade and Investment: Guinea-Bissau did not export any
products under AGOA and its GSP provisions in 2007.

Market Economy/Economic Reform/Elimination of Trade Barriers: The
government supports the continued transition to a market economy.
It no longer dominates the commercial sector and has abolished state
marketing boards, privatized some companies, and ended price
controls. Restrictions on foreign operators in the cashew
production sector were lifted in 2004, although further deregulation
is needed for cashew exports.

Political Pluralism/Rule of Law/Anti-Corruption: Guinea-Bissau is a
multi-party state and the government, led by Prime Minister Cabi, is
a coalition of three parties. The national court system continued
to function, albeit with serious resource constraints. The
constitution and law provide for an independent judiciary, but there
is little independence and some judges have been accused of corrupt
acts. Corruption is pervasive, especially related to narcotics
trafficking.

Poverty Reduction: Guinea-Bissau ranks 175 out of 177 countries in
the United Nations Global Development Index. More than two-thirds
of the population lives below the poverty line. The World Bank
estimates Gross National Income per capita at $185. A Poverty
Reduction Strategy Paper has been circulated to donors but has not
yet received funding support. The government succeeded in early
2008 in qualifying for post-conflict assistance from the
International Monetary Fund. Guinea-Bissau was also selected to
receive developmental and structural reform assistance from the
United Nations Peacebuilding Commission.

Labor/Child Labor/Human Rights: The constitution grants all
civilian workers the right to form and join trade unions. The law
provides for the right to strike and protection against retribution
for engaging in lawful union activity. The law does not provide for
or protect the right to collective bargaining, although
consultations on wages between unions and employers did occur
through a government-sponsored council. The law prohibits forced or
compulsory labor, but there were reports of these practices, as well
as trafficking in persons. Guinea-Bissau has ratified five of the
eight core ILO Conventions, but not Convention 87 on freedom of
association and the right to organize, Convention 138 on minimum
age, or Convention 182 on the worst forms of child labor. Child
trafficking and child labor, including some forced labor, remained
problems. There are no specific laws that protect children from
exploitation in the workplace. The government developed a Strategic
Document for the Reduction of Poverty that includes the elimination
of the worst forms of child labor as a key objective. The
government generally respected the human rights of its citizens;
however, problems remained in some areas, including arbitrary arrest
and detention and restrictions on freedom of speech.

SMITH

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