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SACU: Continued Opposition to Trade Deal with US?

Trade experts say the United States is demanding far deeper market access than South Africa is willing to give, particularly in the area of services that are covered by regulatory protection rather than tariffs.South African business appears to be waking up late to the fact that the country may be walking away from a free trade deal with the US.“It makes far more sense for South Africa to negotiate a free trade agreement with a high-wage country like the US than a low-wage country. The benefits to our economy would be huge,” says Philip...

28 February 2006

USAID Helps Uganda's Roses Break Into US Market

Rosebud Limited, a Ugandan company, delivered its first shipment of 500,000 roses to the United States early in February, in time for the floral industry's busy season, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced February 22."This is a perfect example of the U.S. commitment to Africa," said Lloyd Pierson, assistant administrator for USAID's Bureau for Africa, in a recent USAID press release. "Through our expertise, USAID is building partnerships to create sustainability and drive economic growth. This is a remarkable step...

27 February 2006

South Africa: Trade Team in U.S. in Bid to Revive SACU Talks

A Delegation from the trade and industry department is in the US this week on a mission to save the stalled trade talks between the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) and the US.Local trade experts said yesterday that the mission came amid growing signs that the US may put the talks on the back burner if they were not concluded soon.The delegation, led by the department's acting director-general, Tshediso Matona, is in the US to meet that country's trade officials on the state of the bilateral talks between the US and Sacu, which...

24 February 2006

Ethiopia: AGOA Earnings Growing

The earnings of Ethiopia from AGOA, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, have been growing steadily, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.Information and Public Relations Head with the ministry,Hailu Abebe, said when the preferential access to the US market was extended to Ethiopia in 2001, the country got 822,000 USD only .The amount reached four million USD in 2004 and is even better in 2005,even if the sales report for the year is not yet ready.Despite sales of apparel, wooden sculptures, handicrafts works, businessmen...

24 February 2006

Lesotho's Tax Plan Boosting Apparel Exports

Lesotho’s recent announcement to cut company tax on income derived from exports is a considered move to preserve the country's vital apparel industry. Indeed, the cut in tax to zero for income earned from exports outside of the Southern African Customs Union represents a purposeful step to support the successes of an apparel industry dedicated to exports and creating jobs in a country desperate for employment.Globalisation presents opportunities for developing countries -- but harnessing these requires a different kind of partnership...

22 February 2006

Zambia's Trade Climate Elates US Ambassador

Carmen Martinez (United States ambassador to Zambia) said that Zambia is now open for business since the provision of a conducive atmosphere for private sector growth by the government.Meanwhile the Zambia State Insurance Corporation (ZSIC) has provided US$1 million to Freshpikt, a fruit and vegetable canning factory that has opened in Lusaka to process canned beans, pineapples, tomatoes, guava, tomato paste and glucose, among other products.Ms Martinez said in Lusaka yesterday during the launch of Freshpikt, that the many activities in the...

21 February 2006

Uganda Underperforms under AGOA in 2005

Six years since the inception of the African Growth and Opportunities Act, Uganda's performance has been least impressive in East Africa.The United States-Sub-Saharan Africa Trade data authored by the US Trade Commission puts Uganda last after Kenya and Tanzania in last year's performance.Uganda made total earnings from exports to the US worth $25.8m in 2005, down from $34.8m in 2003. Tanzania's earnings grew from $24m (2003) to $34m(2005) and Kenya from $249m to $348m respectively.The US attributes the poor performance of Uganda and other...

20 February 2006

Uganda: Website to Market Textiles Launched

In a bid to enhance Uganda's performance in the African Growth Opportunity Act, a website has been launched to provide information about the country's textile potential.The website has been launched by the Uganda Investment Authority (UIA) and contains details of the textile industry.It is intended to provide information of industry players, cotton production, jobs and other related information.She was seeing off six companies on February 13 that are to represent Uganda at a textiles exhibition in the US. Southern Range Nyanza, Apparel...

17 February 2006

USTR Says US is Re-Evaluating Interest in FTA with SACU

U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman this week held open the possibility that the U.S. would reconsider continuing formal negotiations with members of the Southern African Customs Union over those countries' failure to agree to the scope of a deal."We don't want to walk away by any means if there's interest," Portman told reporters following a Feb. 7 speech on African trade issues. "We will continue to be there to engage but we have to keep our standards up high." Portman said the U.S. is continuing to push for an agreement that includes...

10 February 2006

Uganda: Government to Revive Spinning Mills Ahead of AGOA Deadline

Uganda's Government has intensified efforts to revive cotton spinning mills in order to beat a 2007 African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) deadline that prohibits beneficiary countries from using imported raw materials for their US-bound exports, writes Mary Karugaba.Under the current arrangement, countries can import textiles and stitch the apparel together for export like Uganda has done for the last four years.Cankwo Okulo, the principal industrial officer in the trade ministry, said Uganda had been importing some raw materials like...

10 February 2006

Lesotho Scraps Tax to Boost Rag Trade

Lesotho Finance Minister Timothy Thahane yesterday announced a zero tax rate on certain of its clothing exporters in a move intended to diversify the country’s export range.Thahane’s statement was in response to a number of investors who opted for SA’s lower general company tax rate, instead of that of Lesotho.“To put an end to firms taking advantage of the lower tax rate in SA and to further improve (Lesotho’s) competitiveness, Lesotho is reducing the general company tax rate from 35% to 25% effective from April 1,” the minister...

10 February 2006

Namibia: Report Queries AGOA Benefits

Concerned that the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a temporary trade arrangement, there is feeling that Namibia should rather further diversify its export markets and move away from any AGOA dependency.AGOA, which is an arrangement initiated by the United States of America to benefit Sub-Saharan African countries, encourages trade and investments between the US and Africa through reduction of tariff and non-tariff barriers.The Act offers tangible incentives for African countries to continue their efforts to open their economies...

09 February 2006

South Africa: Clothing and Textile Sectors Cheer Presidential Speech

South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki's generally upbeat, but short on concrete detail, state of the nation address to parliament on Friday has been broadly welcomed by the beleaguered clothing and textile industry, which is likely to be the first to benefit directly from the government's more proactive approach to growth.Giving broad details of the accelerated and shared growth initiative for South Africa (Asgisa), Mbeki said that nine specific sectors - business process outsourcing, tourism, chemicals, biofuels, metals and metallurgy, wood...

06 February 2006

Uganda: First Flower Crop Enters US Market

As Ugandan flower exporters continue to explore alternative markets for their cut flowers, the exporters have penetrated the US market for the first time. On Tuesday, the first consignment of over 500,000 hydroponics roses from Rosebud Ltd left for the US aboard a KLM flight. The shipment was witnessed at Entebbe International Airport by the Executive Director Uganda Flower Exporters Association (UFEA), Mr Keith Henderson, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Agricultural Advisor, Mr James Dunn, Agricultural...

02 February 2006

South Africa: China Remains a Threat to Textile Sector

China was not the root cause of the problem facing the clothing and textile industries as retailers would simply buy from other low-cost Asian countries if imports from China were curbed, Hoosen Rasool, the chief executive of the clothing, textile, footwear and leather sector education and training authority said this week.The real problem, he said, was that the industries were stuck in market segments dominated by low-cost Asian manufacturers."Any possible reduction of imports from China will likely provide only fleeting relief to the...

29 January 2006

Textiles: China Voluntarily Cuts Back Exports to South Africa

South Africa's beleaguered clothing and textile industry was thrown a potential lifeline yesterday when China announced it would voluntarily curb the exports of its textiles and clothing to South Africa."China will voluntarily limit the export of garments and some textile items to South Africa," said the Chinese ambassador to South Africa, Liu Guijin. Liu was presenting China's Africa policy to African diplomats, international analysts and the media in Pretoria.The department of trade and industry has been in protracted talks with its...

20 January 2006

Africa's Export Growth Highest Since 1980

Riding a wave of higher oil and commodity prices, and vigorous global trade growth, including recovery in trade in office and telecommunications equipment, developing countries saw their share in world merchandise trade rise sharply in 2004 to 31%, the highest since 1950, according to WTO figures released in 2005.However, a marked slow-down in overall economic growth that began in the second half of 2004 is likely to decelerate world merchandise trade growth from 9% in 2004 to 6,5% in 2005, WTO economists say.“As trade continues to play a...

20 January 2006

Uganda Gears Up to Beat End of Fabric Provisions

Uganda's AGOA office is working around the clock to have a spinning mill ready before the expiry of third country fabric sourcing in September 2007."We need to have our own fabric source by then, otherwise all these mushrooming textile factories will close shop," Susan Muhwezi, the special presidential assistant on AGOA, said last week.She said Gherzi, a Swiss firm had been contracted to look at the viability of setting up a spinning mill."We need to be at the point of producing yarn for export and local use by September 2007 so that the...

16 January 2006

China: Textile Trade Up 20%

China enjoyed an estimated 20% rise in revenue, profits and exports in 2005 despite trade rows with the US and the EU, according to a report from the China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Textiles cited by Xinhua news agency.Sales revenue for the year totalled CNY2trn (US$250bn) as profits reached CNY66bn and exports were CNY116bn.The chamber said the increases had been driven by a ramp up in investment into fixed assets as well as technological innovations.Sales, revenue, sales value and industrial added value of large-sized...

04 January 2006

Swaziland Fails to Make Trade Preferences Count

Is the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) dead in the water? Many Taiwanese garment manufacturers in Swaziland believe it is.On a research trip to Swaziland last week for the Brenthurst Foundation, I witnessed a fairly bleak picture emerging.With all the hype about China's unfettered entry into the global textile trade and the attendant problems for other exporting countries, it seems other important considerations of competitiveness and sustainability need to be considered.The strong rand was at the top of the list of problems the...

12 December 2005

USA: Legislators Outline WTO Textile Concerns

Twenty-four members of the US House of Representatives sent a letter to President Bush yesterday (8 December) urging the United States to take a strong stand on two textile-related issues at the upcoming World Trade Organisation talks.The Members want the US to oppose a European Union-led initiative to grant Least Developed Countries (LDCs) duty-free and quota-free access to all developed markets.They are also seeking a Special Textile Sectoral (STS) that would cover textiles and clothing within the non-agricultural market access (NAMA)...

09 December 2005

Uganda: AGOA Under-Used

Uganda has failed to fully exploit the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), a US tariff and quota free initiate, Moses Byaruhanga, the presidential advisor on political affairs, has said.Byaruhanga said the Government was expanding market to increase employment."Apparels Tri-Star, the leading beneficiary of AGOA, has employed only 2,000 people. Other firms have failed to command regular production to exploit the vast American markets," he said.Byaruhanga , who was on Saturday addressing Mukono Christian University students at Bishop...

08 December 2005

Sierra Leone: Chamber of Commerce Says AGOA Enhances Africa Trade

Blanche Gooding, Treasurer of the Sierra Leone Chamber of Commerce Friday disclosed that the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was designed to enhance trade in Africa.Gooding who was speaking at a press briefing at the Chamber's Guma Building office says the Act provides unprecedented opportunities, which is aimed to promote increased trade and investment between United States and African countries, and also increased access and opportunities for US investors and African countries."The AGOA Act offers opportunities and encourage...

05 December 2005

Southern Africa: SACU-US Agreement Could Build On AGOA

The stalled free trade agreement between the US and the Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) will fail unless South African business pushed the country's trade negotiators.This warning was issued by Duane Newman, the automotive industry group leader and a partner at Deloitte, who said African countries were questioning why they should care about this proposed agreement when they had the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).But Newman warned at a briefing on Friday hosted by Ford Southern Africa that this attitude was dangerous.Agoa is...

05 December 2005

Ethiopia Seeks to Maximise AGOA Benefits

Various activities have been launched in a bid to enable Ethiopia benefit the most out of the African Gross Opportunity Act (AGOA), Ministry of Trade and Industry said.The country is not exhaustively utilizing the opportunity of AGOA though it is steadily increasing the volume of exports, information and public relations office head with the ministry Hailu Abebe told ENA yesterday.Oracle Business IntelligenceHailu said lack of competitiveness in the international market both in quality and price of products, lack of skilled manpower, and...

27 November 2005

U.S. Drops Pending Quota Applications on Chinese Textile Imports

The US government on Wednesday dropped all pending decisions to impose quotas on Chinese textile imports after the two nations clinched a deal to regulate the trade.The Commerce Department said all 24 outstanding requests by US industry groups for so-called safeguards on textile imports had been scrapped in light of the agreement reached two weeks ago.Franklin Lavin, undersecretary of commerce for international trade, said the agreement "establishes conditions on trade in the vast majority of products covered by these cases"."Based on these...

24 November 2005

South African Exporters Welcome US-China Textile Pact

The SA Clothing Industry Export Council has welcomed the US-China textile bilateral agreement that in effect reintroduces quotas on 34 categories of clothing and textiles until 2008. The agreement will result in renewed interest from US retail companies in sourcing from South Africa and other sub-Saharan African countries.South Africa's exports declined by 38 percent this year following the lifting of the Multi-Fibre Arrangement (MFA) on January 1. The end of the MFA strangled trading opportunities with other clothing manufacturing countries...

21 November 2005

Uganda: U.S. Embassy Officials Tour Textile Factory

Apparels Tri-Star wants government's support to set up a spinning mill that could reduce the cost of production.Velupillai Kananathan, the Tri-Star chief, said yesterday that the move would be in line with the end of AGOA's Third Party Fabric Sourcing in September 2007.He was speaking during a tour of the Bugolobi-based plant by the economic and regional labour affairs attaché at the US Nairobi embassy, Randolph Fleitman and Nathan Carter, the economic and commercial officer at the US Kampala embassy."We have a huge market out there but we...

17 November 2005

After AGOA, What Next?

Since the publication of the African Growth and Opportunity (AGOA) Act a few years, Kenya and a number of other African countries have reaped some benefits from exporting textiles to the US. Last year, for example, the country earned some Sh21.5 billion from the trade, a good figure by all means.The principle behind Agoa was to facilitate trade between African states and the US. The latter ordinarily has stringent and restrictive policies that commonly knock out the developing countries.Like any other policy, Agoa is time-bound. Were it not...

12 November 2005

Go Beyond Textiles Says U.S.

AGOA earned Kenya about Sh21.5 billion last year. But much remained to be done to broaden exports to the US, a top American trade official said yesterday.However, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) regional adviser, Mr Finn Holm-Olsen, said Kenya should look further than exporting textiles to his country.Oracle Business IntelligenceUnder AGOA, the 37 eligible African countries can export almost any product (nearly 6,500 tariff lines) to the US duty-free."Kenya should diversify its exports by including handicraft and cut flowers,"...

11 November 2005

Senegal Joins Ghana As AGOA Hub in West Africa

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator Lloyd O. Pierson has inaugurated a West Africa Trade Hub in Dakar, Senegal. The Dakar hub is designed to promote improvements in Africa's trade capacity, boost international exports and help businesses take advantage of the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) - a law that provides trade preferences to countries that are making progress in economic, legal and human rights reforms.This latest opening brings the total of USAID-funded hubs for global...

11 November 2005

Turkish Textile Firm Deepens Roots in South Africa

South African-based Turkish-owned textile group, Sesli Textiles, has successfully completed transfer of its manufacturing operations to a new, 30 000 m2 factory in Robertville, Johannesburg, to accommodate increased local and export demand.The company supplies markets via wholesalers and chain stores throughout Southern Africa. The new factory and its hi-tech equipment represents a multi-million-rand direct investment in South Africa.Local yarn manufacture is planned for next year and further investment is planned which could double or even...

11 November 2005

Botswana Garment Factory: Goods Made in China?

The on-going rift between employees of Caratex - a garment manufacturing company - and its management took a dramatic twist on Monday when the employees reported the management to the Department of Customs for importing overseas garments labelled "Made in Botswana".After the tip off on Monday, police and customs officials moved in swiftly and shut down the Caratex II factory - a subsidiary of Caratex.After the closure, the over 80 employees of the company were sent home immediately.An official at the Department of Customs confirmed the lock...

09 November 2005

USA and China Reach Textile Deal

The US and China had agreed to a deal on the import of mainland clothing and fabric, resolving a bitter trade dispute, a major Chinese textile association said yesterday."Both the US and China have compromised in reaching this textile pact," said China National Textile and Apparel Council spokesperson Sun Huaibin.US imports of Chinese-made textiles would be limited to annual growth rates of between 10 percent and 17 percent until 2008, a concession by China, which wanted it to expire in 2007, he said.The deal provides for a progressive...

08 November 2005

Senegal: New Gateway For Trade Opens In Dakar

Today, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator Lloyd O. Pierson inaugurated a West Africa Trade Hub in Dakar, Senegal.The Dakar hub is designed to promote improvements in Africa's trade capacity, boost international exports and help businesses take advantage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) - a law that provides trade preferences to countries that are making progress in economic, legal and human rights reforms.This latest opening brings the total of USAID-funded hubs for global...

08 November 2005

USA: Deal Reached On Chinese Textile Exports?

The US and China have agreed a provisional deal to restrict 34 categories of Chinese textile and clothing exports, according to industry sources.The two parties are expected to sign a deal this week that will govern the export of those goods until 2008.Chinese textile and clothing exports have leapt more than 50 per cent in eight months since global trade quotas expired at the start of 2005, causing widespread concern that other countries’ industries will suffer badly.Although there has been no definitive pact made, both sides have...

07 November 2005

Benefits of AGOA to Africa Debated in US Congress

Five years after its enactment by the United States Congress, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) is being praised for creating thousands of jobs in Kenya and other countries but is also being faulted for falling short of key goals envisioned by its sponsors.The preferential trade programme was described last week by US Congressman Chris Smith as perhaps the most significant American initiative ever undertaken in regard to Africa. Smith and other speakers at an October 20 Agoa review organised by a US congressional subcommittee...

01 November 2005

Africa and US Must Build On AGOA Foundation

Even though the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been successful in stimulating trade between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa, much remains to be done on both continents to further enhance trade and economic development, says Stephen Hayes, president of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA).In an October 27 interview with the Washington File, Hayes said that "AGOA has been very important and a very positive factor in U.S.-Africa relations," but he cautioned that "a lot of [the 37 AGOA-eligible] countries have not been...

01 November 2005

Uganda's Cotton Sector Struggling to Benefit from AGOA

Ever since Uganda started exporting apparel to the US under the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), the country has not exported a stitch of locally-produced fabric and AGOA has stimulated little growth in the cotton sector.According to statistics from the Trade Law Centre for Southern Africa, US imports of duty-free textiles under AGOA since 2003 have totalled $7.6m (about sh14b), and all of that is garment exports Apparel Tristar Limited.Apparel Tristar, a company which makes garments from imported fabric, has created 2,600 jobs...

27 October 2005

East African Countries to Formulate Common Textile Policy

Member countries of the East African Community (EAC) are to formulate a common textile policy to promote the cotton sector.The Minister of Trade, Tourism and Industry, Mr Daudi Migereko, said the policy would enable the textile industry in the region to flourish and reduce the exportation of cotton for local textile industries."We cannot go on importing worn cloths.We need to regain our dignity and start wearing new cloths from textile industries in the region," he said.Migereko said he is closely working with his collegues like Mr Yahaya...

24 October 2005

AGOA to be Expanded?

While the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been successful in spurring economic growth in sub-Saharan Africa by expanding exports to the U.S. market -- much remains to be done to broaden the historic legislation, especially in the area of small businesses, lawmakers say.Republican Congressman Chris Smith, the chairman of the House International Relations Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights and International Operations and Donald Payne, the subcommittee's ranking Democrat each made that point -- along with Republican...

21 October 2005

Increased US Investment in Africa Important for US-Africa Relations

Speaking before a Congressional Hearing this morning on Capitol Hill, Stephen Hayes, president of the Corporate Council on Africa stressed that while AGOA-the African Growth and Opportunity Act-is working and is critical to growing trade between the U.S. and Africa, a more comprehensive approach is needed to strengthen U.S.-Africa trade and political relations. "U.S. businesses especially have failed to take advantage of new investment opportunities in Africa," says Hayes.Hayes testified before the House International Relations Committee's...

20 October 2005

South Africa: "Textile Industry Lacks Leadership" - Govt.

An alarming lack of creativity, entrepreneurship, vision and leadership was a major reason for the sorry state of South Africa's clothing, textile and footwear sector, MPs heard on Wednesday.Briefing Parliament's trade and industry portfolio committee, department of trade and industry deputy director-general Iqbal Sharma accused industry leaders of allowing opportunities to benefit from South Africa's market-access arrangements to "fly over their heads".He also noted the sector's elaborate management structures, which paid themselves high...

19 October 2005

Uganda to export steel under AGOA

Tembo Steels Uganda Ltd, one of the leading steel manufacturers in the country, will by mid next month unveil a multi-million dollar stainless steel plant at their Iganga factory and embark on the exportation of the product (stainless steel) to the U.S market. The firm's Chairman, Mr Sanjay P.K, told journalists on October 10, at their Iganga plant that they have invested up to $10m in the plant with the purpose of engaging in 100 percent export of the product to the US as a means of exploiting the AGOA initiative. He said the plant would...

17 October 2005

United States Fails to Find Textile Solution with China

The US and China have failed to come to an agreement over Chinese textile exports in their latest round of talks, according to US negotiator David Spooner.Spooner said: "We have not come to an agreement that meets the needs of our domestic manufacturers and retailers".The latest discussions, which took place in Beijing, are the fourth round of meetings discussing the upturn in Chinese textile exports since global quotas ended at the start of 2005.China recorded a 75 per cent hike in sales of garments to the US during the first seven months...

13 October 2005

Uganda: Textile Makers Seek Govt Help

Textile and apparel makers have complained about the Government's failure to support them to break through and start exporting to the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) market."There is lack of government support to the textile and apparel sector. Only Tristar is supported.This has made it difficult for operators to produce high-quality products that can penetrate the AGOA market," Santa Anzo, the proprietor of Arapapa, a fashion design company, said.Anzo said this during training of the sector's operators for export readiness to...

13 October 2005
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