TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

US reconsiders AGOA eligibility for three African countries

Tuesday, 20 June 2017 Published: | Tara Donaldson

Source: Sourcing Journal Online

Africa appears to now be getting more of the Trump Administration’s attention when it comes to trade.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said last week that the U.S. has to move from an “AID-based” relationship with Africa to one that’s more “TRADE-based,” which could mean eliminating a trade preference program like the African Growth and Opportunity Act in favor of bilateral trade agreements.

Now, in an out-of-cycle review (see related announcement HERE), the Office of the United States Trade Representative will be looking into whether Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda should still be eligible to receive duty and tariff free benefits under AGOA.

To take advantage of the benefits that the trade program brings, countries are expected to make ongoing progress toward establishing: a market-based economy, rule of law, political pluralism, elimination of barriers to U.S. trade and investment, economic policies to reduce poverty, a system to combat corruption and bribery, and the protection of internationally recognized worker rights.

USTR said it initiated the review of the three nations in response to a petition, and will be accepting requests from the public to appear for a hearing to address whether the countries should still continue receiving benefits.

“This review could result in the termination of the designation of any of the countries as an AGOA beneficiary or the withdrawal, suspension, or limitation of duty-free treatment under AGOA with respect to articles from any of these countries,” trade law firm Sandler, Travis and Rosenberg said in a statement on Tuesday.

The petition for review was filed by the U.S. Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) over the East African Community’s (EAC) decision to ban imports of secondhand clothing.

The EAC said last year that it wants to phase out the importing of used clothing into the region by 2019, but SMART has said the ban contradicts AGOA requirements around eliminating barriers to U.S. trade and putting policies in lace to reduce poverty.

A public hearing on the countries’ eligibility will take place on July 13 after which the USTR will make recommendations to President Trump about whether the countries in question are meeting AGOA’s requirements.

 

Related News

East African textile sector tipped on maximising technology

East African textile sector tipped on maximising technology

Textile industry players in the region have been challenged to start making garments that require low level technology and skills as the East African Community (EAC) countries prepare to phase-out imported used clothes. Lilian Awinja, the Executive Director of the East African Business Council (EABC), said the sector can manufacture apparels such as inner garments, ties,...

20 October, 2017
Used-clothing trade causes contention between US and East African Nations

Used-clothing trade causes contention between US and East African Nations

The commercial enterprise of U.S. companies selling used clothing to African countries doesn’t seem a likely source of controversy, but the issue has become one of contention on two continents. The East African countries of Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan and Burundi have been trying to phase out imports of secondhand clothing and shoes over the last...

13 October, 2017
Kagame explains Rwanda’s formula in luring investors

Kagame explains Rwanda’s formula in luring investors

President Paul Kagame has shared tactics Rwanda applies to lure investors during the Corporate Council on Africa Presidential Dialogue on the Future of US-Africa Business. The dialogue brought together CEOs, decision makers and heads of State who trade with United States of America. Rwanda participated in the meeting because it is part of African Growth and Opportunity Act...

20 September, 2017
Rwanda, US begin talks on AGOA

Rwanda, US begin talks on AGOA

The government of Rwandan has opened talks with the United States on the review of the American Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) in a bid to ensure continued duty-free access to the US market. In July this year, the Americans began an out of cycle review on the eligibility of Rwanda and other East African Community partner states following a move by the region to phase...

06 September, 2017
Lobbyist says US likely to punish East Africa over mitumba ban

Lobbyist says US likely to punish East Africa over mitumba ban

Donald Trump administration trade officials are likely to rule that three East African countries are violating eligibility terms for the US preferential trade programme for Africa, a lobbyist for Kenya warned on Friday. “The stars are aligned” for such a ruling before the end of the year, said Washington based attorney Paul Ryberg, an expert on the Africa Growth and...

26 August, 2017
South Africa: Car makers in strong plea to US on duty-free access under AGOA

South Africa: Car makers in strong plea to US on duty-free access under AGOA

The automotive industry has made a strong plea to the US trade administration for it to continue enjoying the benefit of duty-free access to the US market under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Nico Vermeulen, director of the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of SA, and Renai Moothilal, the executive director of the National Association of...

18 August, 2017