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Botswana’s exports to US down sharply

Published date:
Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Monthly trade data published a few days ago reveals that Botswana’s US-bound exports are down sharply for the year to July 2007, compared with the same period the previous year. Whereas 2006 January-July data shows $176mn (the same as full year 2005) worth of goods went to the US, aggregate 2007 exports are down almost 40% to $110mn. In the period under review, trade under AGOA has remained stable at $17mn.

Botswana is currently the 13th largest Sub-Saharan African exporter of goods to the US, narrowly behind Namibia in 12th position. Botswana’s most important export sector – minerals – has seen a major decline in US exports. This is due to lower diamond exports, which so far in 2007 are valued at $92mn (2006ytd: $158mn).

Garment exports form the bulk of Botswana’s exports under AGOA, which contains simplified rules of origin when exported from qualifying countries. Botswana is therefore permitted to source fabrics from anywhere in the world – not just from another AGOA-eligible country – and transform this into garments locally.

Within the garment sector there have been a number of winners and losers. “Sweaters etc.” (HS6110) was the country’s second largest export category at the disaggregated level (HS4 digit) last year, but is down 21% year-on-year (yoy). ‘Mens suits’ (HS6203), the third largest export last year, is now down 76% to less than $1mn. Gain were however recorded in various shirt categories, with ‘mens shirts’ (HS6105) and ‘T-shirts’ (HS6109) up 280% and 234% respectively. Together, their exports for the year to July are valued at over $8mn.

For a profile of Botswana’s exports to the US, click here

For a profile of BLNS countries’ exports to the US, click here

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