New African Nations Get AGOA Trade Benefits, Others at Risk

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As the U.S. continues its wholesale review of all trade agreements and preference programs—including the African Growth and Opportunity Act—it seems to still be building up on the AGOA program that’s so far still set to run through 2025.

Last month, the United States Trade Representative said Togo is now eligible to enjoy trade benefits under AGOA for textile and apparel products.

A statement in the Federal Register said: “…Togo has adopted an effective visa system and related procedures to prevent the unlawful transshipment of textile and apparel articles and the use of counterfeit documents in connection with the shipment of such articles…”

[Read more about developments in Africa: The Battle for African Trade Pits U.S. Against China]

Separately, the U.S. initiated a review in June of AGOA eligibility for Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, which came about when the East African Community (EAC) decided to ban imports of secondhand clothing to improve its own industry. The U.S. Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART)—which initiated the petition for review with the USTR—said the move to curb incoming used clothing is a barrier to U.S. trade, which goes against certain requirements under AGOA.

According to local news reports in Rwanda, talks with the U.S. have begun.

“We are talking to our partners in the U.S. We value our trade and relations with the U.S. and we are doing all that is possible not to be out of cycle and of course we have been engaging on the issue,” Rwanda Development Board chief operating officer, Emmanuel Hategeka, told the New Times. “We think there is a lot to gain if we keep AGOA, not just in volume terms. Probably the volume of exports has not been a lot but the idea is to have an open market.”

Trade leaders from the U.S. and nations in Africa met last month at the 16th Annual AGOA Forum to discuss moves forward for trade.

In a statement following the forum, U.S. Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer said, “Africa is better positioned than ever before to sell to and buy from the United States. Since AGOA came into effect, regional real GDP has more than doubled and robust economic growth has helped reduce poverty and raise living standards across the continent.”

The U.S. took in a total of $1.04 billion worth of textiles and apparel from AGOA nations last year, just a 1.25% increase over 2015, according to OTEXA. Nearly 33 percent of that came from Kenya, followed by Lesotho with 28 percent and Mauritius accounting for 19 percent of U.S. AGOA imports. AGOA still remains largely under-utilized, with just 16 countries importing textiles and apparel to the U.S. of the 26 that are eligible.

Reiterating the previous sentiment that the U.S. needs to move from an aid-based relationship with Africa to one that’s trade based, Lighthizer said, “Bilateral trade that benefit both U.S. and Africa exporters and service providers lies at the core of our Africa trade policy. I encourage our AGOA partners to promote fair trade, foster an improved business environment, and create economic opportunity that lays the groundwork for the next state in the U.S.-Africa trade relationship.”

This content is for Annual, Monthly and Limited members only. You can read up to five free articles each month with a Limited Level Subscription. Please log in, or register.
Log In Register

Recent News

Bangladesh Wages May be Set to Double

The Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association wants to establish more reasonable wage standards for the country’s ready-made garment sector—and any potential shifts could come with a wage hike, too. The BGMEA has asked the government to form a wage board for workers in order……...

This content is for Annual, Monthly and Limited members only. You can read up to five free articles each month with a Limited Level Subscription. Please log in, or register.
Log In Register
Read more

Apparel Prices Edge Down in October, Footwear Prices Suffer Biggest Drop Since 2007

Consumer prices rose by an expected rate in October compared to a year ago, the result of a retreat in energy prices that had spiked at the end of hurricane season, plus flat food prices. Apparel prices dropped slightly year-over-year.

This content is for Annual, Monthly and Limited members only. You can read up to five free articles each month with a Limited Level Subscription. Please log in, or register.
Log In Register
Read more

Report: Uncertainty is the New Norm in Trade, and New Sourcing Locations Will be Key

This year hasn’t been an easy one for trade, with deals becoming defunct or upended, Brexit remaining an ongoing riddle and weather-related catastrophes disrupting global supply chains. Apart from the stress these market forces may have induced, they’ve also served as a reminder that agility is in higher demand than ever before.

This content is for Annual, Monthly and Limited members only. You can read up to five free articles each month with a Limited Level Subscription. Please log in, or register.
Log In Register
Read more

Sri Lanka’s Brandix Inks JV With Best Pacific to Improve Synthetics Offering

Brandix, one of Sri Lanka’s leading exporters, has signed a joint venture agreement with global synthetic materials manufacturer Best Pacific of Hong Kong to produce synthetic fabric and webbing.

This content is for Annual, Monthly and Limited members only. You can read up to five free articles each month with a Limited Level Subscription. Please log in, or register.
Log In Register
Read more