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AGOA: Africa Must Produce Its Own Cotton Fabric Industry

Published date:
Tuesday, 30 March 2004

Namibia’s clothing sector has been the country’s main beneficiary of preferential access to the US market brought about by AGOA. This is according to data from the United States International Trade Commission (USITC).

Since 2000, the year prior to trade benefits materialising under AGOA, Namibia’s total exports to the U.S. have grown three-fold from US$ 42mn to just over US$ 123mn in 2003. Whereas the country exported virtually no clothing (or textiles) to the US initially, exports of knitwear (HS61) now form that country’s single largest export category to the U.S. This follows the establishment of Ramatex, a sizeable and vertically-integrated production facility in the country’s capital city Windhoek. In 2003, knitwear accounted for 34% of total exports to the US, followed by “copper and copper articles” (HS74) worth 27% of total US-bound exports. These consisted of unrefined copper and copper anodes for electrolytic refining, Namibia being the 4th largest foreign supplier to the U.S. market with over 8% import market share. While most clothing exports were AGOA-eligible, having met rules of origin requirements, no Namibian copper products entered the US under a trade preference program.

Considering the uncertainty around the passage of the latest AGOA trade bill, dubbed “AGOA III”, Namibia’s clothing sector is well placed to continue exporting successfully to the U.S. even if the so-called “lesser-developed country” benefits that allow the use of third country fabrics are withdrawn. This is due to the fact that none of Namibia’s clothing exports thus far have had to make use of this rules of origin waiver.

”Nambia’sGoods falling into HS28 (“Inorganic Chemicals; Organic or Inorganic Compounds of Precious Metals, of Rare-Earth Metals, of Radioactive Elements or of Isotopes”) are Namibia’s third largest export category to the U.S. in 2003. Exports within this category consisted solely of natural uranium compounds (Namibia was the U.S.’ 5th largest foreign supplier in 2003), although these declined by almost 40% in US$-terms over the 2002/2003 period.

Exports to the U.S. of “zinc and articles thereof” (HS79) were worth US$ 14,4mn in 2003, following no exports in this category during the past few years. All consisted of unwrought zinc. The U.S. continues to be an important market for exports of “fish and crustaceans”, although in relative terms, this sector’s share of exports has declined considerably in recent years.

Overall, US$ 46,8mn of the country’s US$ 123mn worth of exports to the U.S. during 2003 entered that country under AGOA. Of these, US$ 32mn consisted of “new AGOA” product categories (i.e. products that formed the extension to the Generalised System of Preferences [GSP] on AGOA’s inception), while US$ 14,6mn consisted of AGOA categories that previously already received duty-free access as part of the GSP.

“AGOA Latest AGOA Trade Data on

Click here to view a sector profile of Namibia’s bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include:

  • AGOA-beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.

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