The 'BNLS' group comprises Botswana, Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland, all of which - alongside South Africa - together form of the Southern African Customs Union.
Given South Africa's economic strength relative to the BNLS countries, and the volume of its trade flows, the BNLS aggregation provides a way of reviewing the trade performance of this group of countries vis-a-vis the United States.
Namibia, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, is a sparsely populated country relying heavily on its minerals, fishing and beef industries. Botswana likewise has rich mineral deposits, while Swaziland is a small and land-locked country which relies heavily on its agricultural sector. More recently, its textile sector has grown considerably and has benefited significantly by AGOA's duty-free provisions as well as the related 3rd country fabric sourcing rule.
Lesotho, often referred to as the "Mountain Kingdom", is completely landlocked by South Africa.
The textile industry in Lesotho is the single largest provider of manufacturing employment, and the country forms one of the leading exporters of clothing to the United States under the AGOA legislation.