TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Is the banning of importation of second-hand clothes and shoes a panacea to industrialization in East Africa?

The objective of this study was to investigate if the banning of importation of second-hand clothes and shoes is a panacea to industrialization in East Africa. Qualitative and quantitative secondary data were employed to validate the research objectives. The study found that most people used second-hand clothes and shoes bacause they were cheaper, good quality and fashionable. Likewise, the trade of second-hand clothes and shoes created employment, generated revenue and filled the gap during shortage. Nevertheless, the second-hand clothes and shoes trade contributed to the collapse and hamper the current initiative to revive the textiles and leather industries. Similarly, the trade has been associated with some skin diseases, had negative impact on self-esteem of the consumers and conflicted with some African values and traditions. Besides, there were some socio-economic and technical factors, influx of clothes and shoes from Asia as well as un-competitive local environment which contributed to the collapse of the former industries. In view of the above, the following were recommended: First, the phase-out of second-hand clothes and shoes should be gradual and implemented over a longer period of time (5-10 years) to lessen the impact of the ban on the lives of the consumers and traders. Second, the governments should put in place effective policies to control unfair competition of Asian products. Finally, the governments should rectify all factors that led to the collapse of the former industries and put in place a conducive business and investment environment necessary for the growth of the new industries.

Author Kitojo Kagome Wetengere
Organisation African Journal of Economic Review
Publish Date 25 January 2018

Related News

Joint statement between the US and the African Union concerning the development of the AfCFTA

Joint statement between the US and the African Union concerning the development of the AfCFTA

Deputy United States Trade Representative C.J. Mahoney and African Union Commission Commissioner for Trade and Industry Albert Muchanga today signed a joint statement concerning trade between the United States and the African Union at the opening ceremony of the 2019 African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Forum.  The text of the Joint Statement is below: The United...

08 August, 2019
'Here's why the used clothing trade deserves more attention'

'Here's why the used clothing trade deserves more attention'

While friction over the ban of used clothing exports from the US to East Africa seems to have come to an end, some fundamental issues still remain, according to Shannon Brady and Sheng Lu from the University of Delaware. Their latest research throws up complex economic, social, legal and political factors linked with the trade in second-hand clothes and questions the...

11 December, 2018
East Africa debate: Suspension of Rwanda’s AGOA benefits – What does it mean? [Video]

East Africa debate: Suspension of Rwanda’s AGOA benefits – What does it mean? [Video]

Barely weeks after the Trump administration partially suspended Rwanda’s benefits to export apparel duty-free to the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act - AGOA, the government of Rwanda says that it remains committed to supporting any Rwandan trader who still wishes to access the US market. The government also says that it expects minimal effects from the...

22 August, 2018
Rwanda: Government to pay taxes for affected AGOA exporters

Rwanda: Government to pay taxes for affected AGOA exporters

To ensure Rwandan exporters are not significantly affected by the anticipated suspension of duty-free access to the US market under the AGOA framework, government has decided to take over the resultant tax obligations. This follows the move by the American government on March 31st announcing their intention to suspend the application of duty-free treatment to all African...

11 June, 2018
'How the United States and Rwanda have fallen out over second-hand clothes' - BBC

'How the United States and Rwanda have fallen out over second-hand clothes' - BBC

US President Donald Trump's "America First" stance on global trade has hit Rwanda, by imposing tariffs on clothing exports from the tiny East African nation. The issue revolves around an obscure import, second-hand clothes, and Rwanda's refusal to back down from the fight.  When did the dispute start? In March 2018, the US gave Rwanda 60 days' notice that it would be...

28 May, 2018
Trump versus Rwanda in trade battle over used clothes

Trump versus Rwanda in trade battle over used clothes

Early last year, weeks after Donald Trump was sworn in as president, a little known American trade association  filed a petition with the U.S. Trade Representative. That seven-page letter set Africa in the cross-hairs of the new administration’s ‘America First’ trade ideology, pitting the world’s largest economy against tiny Rwanda over an unlikely U.S. export:...

24 May, 2018