The African apparel manufacturing sector received a major boost in 2001 when the United States included garments in the list of products eligible for duty-free access to the United States market under AGOA. This provided not only a waiver of US import duties - generally in the region of 15-30% ad valorum - but also gave African manufacturers a critical advantage over producers located in low-cost countries like China and Bangladesh which faced effective quota constraints and high tariffs on their products when shipped into the United States.
Since then, some of this advantage has been lost, not least due to the fact that quotas on Africa's competitors were removed under WTO rules.
Today, the apparel manufacturing sector has demonstrated a measure of resilience and continues to compete in the US market. Leading Sub-Saharan African exporters of apparel are Lesotho, Mauritius, Kenya, Swaziland, Madagascar and Ethiopia.
Find a link to AGOA trade data in the apparel sector at this link.
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