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Fabric Exemption granted to Mauritius for 1 Year

Published date:
Friday, 29 October 2004

Recent media reports stating that Mauritius has been granted LDC status (read the L’Express article here and a similar feature by the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce here) were found to be premature. This follows investigations by, and enquiries to the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce and US Office for Textiles and Apparel.

The re-designation of Mauritius has indeed been tabled before the US Congress, as part of the Miscellaneous Trade and Technical Corrections Act of 2004 (HR-1047). This 300-page Act covers a number of areas, and proposes duty suspensions on a large number of chemical compounds, certain footwear, duty-free treatment for hand-knotted and hand-woven carpets, changes to the Andean Preferences Act, the Caribbean Basin Initiative and AGOA. It also grants Most-Favoured Nation status to certain countries, including Laos (these trade relations are defined as “Normal Trade Relations” (NTR) by US authorities).

However, while the Act was to have been passed on October 08, 2004, last-minute objections to some of the language used in granting normal trade relations to Laos were received by Senators Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) and Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin). They placed holds on the legislation until mid-November.

The House of Representatives thus approved a compromise version of the HR-1047 legislation, which will again be presented to the US Congress in November. It should be made clear that the objection was not against the re-designation of Mauritius as a LDC beneficiary country, which grants clothing manufacturers in that country the right to use third-country fabrics in the manufacture of AGOA-eligible garments. This is a notable concession, and will without doubt have implications not only for Mauritius but for the region as a whole. For example, Mauritius is known to source large quantities of cotton fabrics from South Africa for use in garments destined for the American market. The LDC concession will allow Mauritius to source such fabrics from outside the region.

However, Mauritius’ exports under this exemption are limited to “5% of the applicable percentage described in clause (ii)(II)”. This clause, which is defined in HR-4103 (AGOA III), sets the quota for duty-free access for African-produced garments exported under the third-country exemption. Based on Mauritius’ exports to the US during the 2003/2004 quota period (for the latest data click here), the country would have used 2.8% out of a possible 5% of the quota. In other words, exports will only be constrained in the case of a doubling of Mauritius’ garment exports under AGOA.

According to correspondence received by on 27 October from Mr R.T. Servansingh, Deputy Secretary General of the Mauritius Chamber of Commerce, he clarifies that in response “…to a question raised in Parliament in Mauritius yesterday, the Minister confirmed that the Bill had not actually gone through although the Government remained confident that it will go through by the 6th of November. This is the latest status which I can report on as of this date…”.

HR-1047 has been made available for download from’s resource archives by following this link (Size: 531kb). The provisions relating to Mauritius, found on pp 276, read as follows:


(1) IN GENERAL.—Section 112(b)(3)(B) of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (19 U.S.C. 3271(b)(3)(B)) is amended by adding at the end the following new clause:

‘‘(iv) SEPARATE LIMITATION FOR MAURITIUS.—For the 1-year period beginning October 1, 2004—

‘‘(I) the term ‘lesser developed beneficiary sub-Saharan African country’ includes Mauritius; and

‘‘(II) the applicable percentage with respect to Mauritius shall be 5 percent of the applicable percentage described in clause (ii)(II).’’

(2) RETROACTIVE APPLICATION.—Notwithstanding section 514 of the Tariff Act of 1930 (19 U.S.C. 1514) or any other provision of law, upon proper request filed with the Bureau of Customs and Border Protection before the 90th day after the date of the enactment of this Act, any entry, or withdrawal from warehouse for consumption, of any good…

(A) that was made on or after October 1, 2004, and before the date of the enactment of this Act, and (B) with respect to which there would have been no duty if the amendment made by this subsection applied to such entry or withdrawal, shall be liquidated or reliquidated as if such amendment applied to such entry or withdrawal.

Eckart Naumann

“AGOA Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

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

Other regularly updated trade statistics on include: (click each link to view)

  • 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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