TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

East Africa exports to the US hit $1bn in the year to September 2018

Monday, 31 December 2018 Published: | KENNEDY SENELWA

Source: The East African

Exports from East African countries to the US reached about $1 billion between October 2017 and September 2018, a 17 per cent increase from the same period the previous year.

The United States Agency for International Development’s East Africa Trade and Investment Hub said apparel dominated the region’s sales at 84.4 per cent of exports.

The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) gives sub-Saharan Africa duty-free access to US markets for about 6,000 items.

The East Africa Trade and Investment Hub said that the firms they supported have increased competitiveness by gathering information on buyer needs, helping to get standards certification, and developing products tailored to consumer preferences.

“To date, USAid Hub trade and investment support has contributed to $4.07 billion in Agoa exports from the region, with $491.5 million from Hub-supported firms,” the Hub said.

Largest exporter

Kenya remained the largest exporter under Agoa in East Africa, at $454.2 million in the period under review, representing an increase of 14 per cent from $399.7 million made in the year to September 2017.

Tanzania experienced a rise of seven per cent to $42.1 million, Uganda had a 49 per cent increase to $3.2 million, and Rwanda went up 49 per cent to $5.8 million.

Ethiopia had the largest increase in exports as the country’s total earnings rose by 62 per cent to $137.3 million in September 2018, from $84.5 million September 2017.

“If this growth continues, Ethiopia may quickly become the second or third largest exporter under Agoa in East Africa. Almost all other countries saw their exports grow with the exception of Mauritius and Burundi,” said the Hub.

Mauritius has seen increased competition since Madagascar regained its Agoa eligibility in 2014. Sales from Mauritius dropped by five per cent to $160.5 million in September 2018, from $168.6 million the same period the previous year.

Burundi is not eligible to trade under Agoa. The country’s exports under the Generalised System of Preferences declined by 36 per cent to $1 million, from $1.7 million in the year to September 2017.

Madagascar’s exports to the US rose by 29 per cent to $181.3 million in the period under review. 

The Hub said that countries in the region are making the most of the trade agreement.

Rwanda, Uganda, Madagascar, Tanzania and Kenya have developed national Agoa strategies to support critical sectors and items to maximise the duty-free benefits. Ethiopia is in the process of updating its national strategy.

Products that can enter the US market under the agreement include textiles and apparels, specialty foods, footwear, cut flowers, home décor and fashion accessories. 

The Hub advises and trains firms by reducing the cost and risk of doing business through engaging governments with stakeholders.

Related News

'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
Kenya: US Ambassador Godec’s remarks on direct flight launch between Nairobi and New York

Kenya: US Ambassador Godec’s remarks on direct flight launch between Nairobi and New York

Waheshimiwa, mabibi na mabwana, hamjambo! Habari za jioni? This is an historic day for Kenya and the United States!  And I am very glad to be here to share it with you.  If there’s one phrase that sums up today, it has to be: when you dream big “the sky’s the limit”! The United States and Kenya have a long and extraordinary partnership.  Over 55...

28 October, 2018
Hello, America! USAID, direct flights to increase AGOA exports to US

Hello, America! USAID, direct flights to increase AGOA exports to US

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) Hub will from November 2018 to March 2019 provide direct support in the audit and Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) certification process. Already, USAID is helping companies in the East African region become more export competitive. WRAP is a minimum standard for social compliance where US textile and...

19 October, 2018
Kenya looks beyond apparel to double earnings from AGOA

Kenya looks beyond apparel to double earnings from AGOA

Kenya is betting on bigger shipments of processed food, tea and coffee to help double its export earnings from the US free-trade deal in five years’ time — marking a shift from its long dependence on apparels. Several Kenyan products, notably apparel and agricultural produce, are big beneficiaries of the preferential African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa)...

30 September, 2018
Kenyan government presents USAID Hub-supported AGOA Strategy to USTR

Kenyan government presents USAID Hub-supported AGOA Strategy to USTR

On August 28, 2018, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Trade and Cooperatives Peter Munya (represented by Trade Principal Secretary Dr. Chris Kiptoo, pictured on left) delivered Kenya’s National African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Strategy and Action Plan 2018-2023 to U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington, DC. The Strategy, which aims to...

31 August, 2018