TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Kenya: exports fall despite AGOA

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Source: Yarns and Fibres Exchange

Kenya`s textile and apparel exports to the United States have declined by more than 13 per cent so far this year despite efforts to bolster this sector through changes in the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).

New U.S. trade data shows that Kenyan sales of cloth and garments to the U.S. market amounted to $56.8 million for the first three months of this year compared to $65.6 million for the same period last year. The drop continues a trend that saw Kenyan clothing exports to the U.S. fall from $271 million in 2005 to $263.8 million last year.

Although the U.S. Congress recently amended Agoa to help Kenya and other eligible countries develop their own fabric production, Kenya's apparel industry "is struggling to hold its ground against Asian competition," the U.S. State Department observes. Labour conditions may also be deteriorating in Kenyan factories that focus on export production for the U.S. market.

"Workers in EPZ garment factories have reported increasing instances of forced, unpaid overtime, sexual harassment, and unsafe working conditions," according to a new U.S. study on Agoa.

"The Tailors and Textile Workers Union has filed complaints against 15 EPZ garment manufacturers, two of whom appear to have tried to abandon operations in Kenya, thus leaving behind unpaid salaries and benefits," the U.S. report adds. "It also appears that manufacturers are replacing long-term contract employees with casual workers far beyond the three-month legal limit."

U.S. exports to Kenya slipped last year by 17 per cent, due mainly to a decline in Boeing sales to Kenya Airways.

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of Kenya’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: (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.