TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Rwanda, USA move to shield recession-hit trade

Saturday, 02 May 2009

Source: East African Business Week

Top Rwandan and United States of America trade officials met in Kigali recently to address reports of declining trade.

The meeting followed reports that trade between the two countries has been falling since the beginning of the year.

The US delegation was headed by the Assistant US Trade Reprehensive for Africa, Ms. Florizelle Liser and hosted by Rwanda's Trade and Industry Minister, Ms. Monique Nsanzabaganwa.

Rwanda-US trade is laid on the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) signed in 2006 and the now nine-year-old African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The US Foreign Trade Statistics website reports that US exports to Rwanda fell from $3 million in January to $0.9 million in February 2009. In that same period, imports fell from $2.3 million to $1.7 million.

This, however, is attributed to the surging global economic downturn which has hit the USA causing dramatic job losses and reducing the US citizens' purchasing power, analysts said.

The Rwandan minister said her country was going to focus on how to increase exports to the USA under the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) and increase the flow of investments between the two countries.

Rwandan exports to the USA include agricultural products, mainly coffee, tea, pyrethrum, flowers, minerals, handicrafts and gift articles. Rwanda imports many goods from the USA.

The head of the US delegation, Liser said: "We went through our action plan; we talked about each of the specific items in the action plan and we then added some things that we want to do and we think will enhance further the US-Rwanda investment and trade relationship."

She said the meeting agreed both parties to keep contacting each other at least every three months to keep TIFA very vibrant and alive.

Total trade between the United States and Rwanda was valued at $34.2 million in 2008, a 19% increase over 2007.

During that same period, US exports to Rwanda were valued at nearly $20.5million, increasing by 27% and Rwandan exports to the United States were valued at $13.7 million, increasing by 8%.

The Ministry of Trade and Industry said value of Rwanda coffee exports to the US under AGOA reduced from $2.4 million in 2007 to $0.77 million in 2008.

Metal ores and concentrates exports reduced from $4.61 million in 2007 to $1.74 million in 2008. The Rwanda Private Sector Federation(PSF) told local media that the export revenue from the USA reduced from about Rfw 5 billion in 2007 to Rfw 2 billion in 2008 (Freight On Board).

“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on

Click here to view a sector profile of Rwanda'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.