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Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda face US sanction after used clothes ban

Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda face US sanction after used clothes ban

USA

<p>The U.S. Trade Representative said on Tuesday it was reviewing trade benefits to Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (<span class="caps">AGOA</span>) after a complaint by U.S. interests about an East African ban on imports of used clothing.</p> <p><span class="caps">USTR</span> said the “out-of-cycle” review was in response to a petition filed by the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (<span class="caps">SMART</span>), which complained that the ban “imposed significant hardship” on the U.S. used-clothing industry and violated <span class="caps">AGOA</span> rules.</p> <p>“Through the out-of-cycle review, <span class="caps">USTR</span> and trade-related agencies will assess the allegations contained within the <span class="caps">SMART</span> petition and review whether Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda are adhering to <span class="caps">AGOA</span>’s eligibility requirements,” <span class="caps">USTR</span> said in a statement.</p> <p>The move follows a decision by the six-nation East African Community – Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and South Sudan – to fully ban imported second-hand clothes and shoes by 2019, arguing it would help member countries boost domestic clothes manufacturing.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">USTR</span> did not elaborate on why the three countries were singled out for review.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">AGOA</span> trade program provides eligible sub-Saharan countries duty-free access to the United States on condition they meet certain statutory eligibility requirements, including eliminating barriers to U.S. trade and investment, among others.</p> <p>U.S. <span class="caps">AGOA</span> imports from Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda totaled $43 million in 2016, up from $33 million in 2015, according to the <span class="caps">USTR</span>. U.S. exports to Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda were $281 million in 2016, up from $257 million the year before, it said.</p> <p><strong><em>Reuters</em></strong></p>
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