TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Swaziland: AGOA threat puts 2,000 jobs at risk

Friday, 04 April 2014 Published: | MUSA SIMELANE

Source: Times of Swaziland

Texray Swaziland, the kingdom’s biggest textile company, is shaken by the prospect of the country losing its AGOA benefits and 2 000 jobs could be on the line.

Jim Wang, the company’s spokesperson, said 50 per cent of the company’s products were exported directly to the USA. So if the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) no longer becomes applicable to Swaziland, it means import duties will now have to be paid for  50 per cent (of) products. He said this was not a desirable situation because of the loss of economic benefits derived from the preferential trade privileges when it came to American markets.

“Losing AGOA will put us in a difficult position – not just Texray but other players in the textile industry, even some in the agricultural industry. We can’t do anything about it except to watch and hope that government and other relevant structures ensure that they meet the May 15 deadline,” explained Wang in an interview yesterday.

He mentioned that the industries have shared their concern over this with the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Trade, the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority (SIPA) and Ministry of Labour and Social Security. Wang stated that more than 2 000 jobs at Texray alone could be at stake. “The workers are aware about this matter and they too are watching for the latest developments,” said Wang.

In order for Swaziland to maintain its place with AGOA, the American Government requires the Swazi Government to meet certain conditions, which include reviewing the Public Order Act and making a Declaratory Order that the 1973 Decree no longer applied in the country.

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