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Experts urge effective use of regional trade openings

Published date:
Saturday, 03 May 2008

A new study laments that Tanzania has failed to successfully make the most of multiple preferential trade openings for the past decade.

Two economic experts, Josephat Kweka, and George Kabelwa did that study, whose findings blame the lack of national capacity in areas of modern technology as one of the key limiting factor that makes country`s products of inferior quality.

They cite the US Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) for which Tanzania qualified since 2002 to export apparels, among other products, to the vast US market duty and quota free.

However, only the Arusha based Sunflag Tanzania Ltd has been actively managed to take advantage of Agoa by exporting substantial amounts of apparels to the US market.

Some other major local textile firms such as New Mwanza and Musoma Textiles have the local market as their key target, with Agoa penetration being considered as only a long-term goal, they complained.

``This is mainly because they lack capital investment required to attain high quality textiles and apparels. Changes should be needed to win the global market opportunities,`` they said.

Their findings were presented by Hussein Nassor, lecturer and researcher at the department of agro-economics of the Institute of Finance Management (IFM) in a recent researchers� meeting held in Dar es Salaam.

As regards European market, the Cotonou Agreement signed between the European Union (EU) and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries had the objective of enabling the ACP member states, including Tanzania, to have preferential access to the lucrative market.

Even before its recent re-branding into Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), with the EU either individually or collective taking into consideration the integration process already in existent, there is no proof that Tanzania substantially gained from previous arrangements, as the country had principally remained exporter of agricultural raw materials.

However, the new EPA arrangement provides for potential markets for Tanzanian cotton.

Analysis of the US market in apparel categories shows that China boosted its market share in apparel and textile trade from 9 per cent in 2001 to 65 per cent in 2004.

Study also describes concerns that cheap textiles and clothing imports from China that flooding the Tanzanian`s domestic market, could very seriously injure the clothing and textile sub-sector, consequently causing loss of precious productive capacity, factory closures and layoffs.

Other potential multilateral and regional trade agreements exist under the World Trade Organization (WTO), Southern African Development Community (SADC) and East African Community (EAC).

Research was attempting to establish linkages between Trade Development and Poverty Reduction (TDP) on Cotton and Textile Sector in Tanzania over the past few years.

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of Tanzania’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.

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