Country Information - Mauritania
ECONOMIC BACKGROUNDA year and a half after its suspension from AGOA at the start of 2006, Mauritania was re-instated as an AGOA beneficiary country on 20 June 2007. Mauritania was subsequently suspended again on 21 December 2008, and re-instated at the end of 2009.
Half of Mauritania's population depends on agriculture and livestock for a livelihood, even though most of the nomads and many subsistence farmers were forced into the cities by recurrent droughts in the 1970s and 1980s.
Mauritania has extensive deposits of iron ore, which account for half of total exports. The decline in world demand for this ore, however, has led to cutbacks in production. The nation's coastal waters are among the richest fishing areas in the world, but overexploitation by foreigners threatens this key source of revenue.
The country's first deepwater port opened near Nouakchott in 1986. In the past, drought and economic mismanagement resulted in a build-up of foreign debt.
In February, 2000, Mauritania qualified for debt relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and in December 2001 received strong support from donor and lending countries at a triennial Consultative Group review. Mauritania withdrew its membership in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in 2000 and subsequently increased commercial ties with Arab Maghreb Union members Morocco and Tunisia, most notably in telecommunications. In 2001, exploratory oil wells in tracts 80 km offshore indicated potential viable extraction at current world oil prices. However, the refinery in Nouadhibou historically has not exceeded 20% of its distillation capacity, and it handled no crude in the year 2000.
A new Investment Code approved in December 2001 improved the opportunities for direct foreign investment. (Source: World Factbook, 2002)
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BI-LATERAL TRADE OVERVIEWMauritania exports virtually no products to the United States. The country has a trade deficit with the United States, with total two-way trade in 2006 valued at US$ 140mn.
'Transportation equipment' makes up Mauritania’s largest import category from the U.S., followed by 'electronic products' and 'machinery'. Detailed trade data is provided under ‘Country Trade Profile’ below.
Mauritania only recently increased its US=bound exports significantly, with most of its exports classified under energy-related categories.
Click here for Detailed Trade Profile
21 AGOA FORUM 2013: Ethiopia will host the 2013 US-Africa AGOA Forum. AGOA.info has been informed that the Forum will not take place as envisaged on 28 June - 1 July, but at a later date yet to be determined. The theme for this year’s Forum is “Trade and Technology for sustained change”“
21 December 2012: Guinea-Bissau and Mali lose AGOA eligibility
APRIL 2013: Monthly data has been updated to include February 2013 data, quarterly includes full year 2012 data.
New US strategy towards Africa: White House Factsheet on new strategy towards Africa, plus overview of past US engagement with Africa. Click here for the file and this link for a summary article.
02 August 2012: Bill to extend third country fabric provision passes Congress Download the House of Reps. Bill at this link
South Sudan declared AGOA-eligible on 26 March 2012. Earlier, Cote d'Ivoire, Niger and Gambia declared AGOA eligible on 25 October 2011. See news item, presidential declaration and trade overview at this link (S Sudan) and here (others).
US GSP extended and GSP benefits to be applied retrospectively for the year 2011 since expiry of previous GSP. See AGOA.info legal documents section at the following link.
AGOA at 10: Reflections on US-Africa trade with a focus on SACU: Tralac Working Paper that can be downloaded at this
December 2010: The Democratic Republic of Congo loses its AGOA eligibility status. See proclamation here (pdf download available at this link
ITC investigation of textiles and apparel: Further details at this link
AGOA IV – Changes to AGOA explained
For disaggregated trade data covering each AGOA country, follow the relevant link in the Country Sections (left column) or click here.
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