Robert Strauss, a Madagascar-based consultant, filed a Freedom of Information Act request last March to find out more about the US government decision to remove Madagascar from its list of countries eligible to receive trade preferences under AGOA. This is a decision we have blogged about many times, since it has cost thousands of Malagasy textile workers their jobs, without having any discernible effect on the leaders responsible for the 2009 coup and subsequent governance gridlock that landed Madagascar on the US Trade Representative's hit list in the first place. We also wondered why Madagascar was singled out when dictatorships like Cameroon are still eligible for AGOA. Strauss requested: Four months later, the USTR replied:
We have already had a fruitless dialogue with Ms. Hamilton, so that's just a cover for the cover-up on what really caused the US government to do something so destructive to blameless textile workers in Madagascar.