Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Reported to Senate with amendment(s) (12/07/2016)

AGOA Enhancement Act of 2015

(Sec. 2) This bill states that it is U.S. policy to support efforts in sub-Saharan Africa to: (1) improve the rule of law, promote free elections, strengthen the private sector, and fight corruption; and (2) promote the role of women in social, political, and economic development.

(Sec. 3) The President shall establish the AGOA website for the collection and dissemination of information regarding the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The website shall include:

  • information and technical assistance provided at U.S. Agency for International Development regional trade hubs, and
  • a link to U.S. embassy websites located in eligible sub-Saharan African countries.

The Department of State is urged to direct U.S. embassies in eligible sub-Saharan African countries to promote such countries' use of AGOA benefits, including through the use of a publicly available Internet link to the AGORA website.

The President is urged to, after each meeting of the United States-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, publish on the AGOA website: (1) all outcomes of the meeting, including any member country and private sector commitments; and (2) an assessment of progress made regarding any commitments made by member countries and the private sector from the previous meeting.

(Sec. 4) The President is urged to:

  • implement policies to facilitate trans-boundary trade among eligible sub-Saharan African countries;
  • provide training for business and government trade officials on accessing AGOA benefits and other trade preference programs; and
  • provide capacity building for African entrepreneurs and trade associations on production strategies, quality standards, formation of cooperatives, and market research and market development;
  • provide capacity building training to promote product diversification and value-added processing; and
  • provide capacity building and technical assistance funding to help African businesses and institutions comply with U.S. counter-terrorism initiatives and policies.

"Eligible sub-Saharan African country" means a country that the President has determined meets AGORA eligibility requirements.

(Sec. 5) The Millennium Challenge Act of 2003 is amended to provide that an eligible country that has entered into and has in effect a Millennium Challenge Compact may also enter into and have in effect at the same time not more than one additional compact, if:

  • one or both of the compacts are or will be for purposes of regional economic integration, increased regional trade, or cross-border collaborations; and
  • the country is making considerable and demonstrable progress in implementing the terms of the existing compact.

(Sec. 6) Millennium Compacts for Regional Economic Integration Act or the M-CORE Act

The bill: (1) establishes, beginning with FY2013, new assistance criteria for a low-income or a lower middle income candidate country eligible to enter into a Millennium Challenge Compact with the United States, and (2) sets forth reclassification limits. A country qualifying for candidate status with a per capita income that changes during the fiscal year such that the country would be reclassified from a low income country to a lower middle income country or from a lower middle income country to a low income country shall retain its status in its former income classification for such fiscal year and the two subsequent fiscal years.

The bill amends consulting and reporting requirements for the Millennium Challenge Corporation's Board of Directors, including by requiring the board, before entering into a compact, to provide: (1) economic justification for the compact, (2) a risk management plan, and (3) congressional and public notification.

The corporation shall, before selecting a compact country, provide the board with information regarding the country's treatment of civil society.

The corporation is required submit a study to certain congressional committees that assesses the feasibility of developing partnerships at the sub national level within candidate countries.