Tanzania and Uganda bows to United States (US) pressure as both East African nations reduce their tariffs on United states used clothing.
Ever since some countries banned importation of used-clothes, America has not been pleased. The United States some weeks back threatened to take action against East African countries that were making moves to ban import of second-hand clothes.
The threat that was legally backed by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) stated that the US would cut-off non-compliant countries from the pact.
According to the Acting Head of Economic and Regional Affairs at the African Bureau of the US State Department, Harry Sullivan, “we are asking those countries to do two things. One is to decrease their tariffs to their pre-2016 levels, and the second thing we’re asking is to commit that aside from health or sanitary reasons, not to phase out the export of used clothing.”
In 2016, the East African Community head of states (comprising Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan) agreed to ban the import of used clothes and footwear in the region by 2019, as part of the EAC’s vision 2050 and the Industrialization Policy to enhance manufacturing sector that currently contributes 8.7 percent of the regional Gross Domestic Product.
Previously, only Kenya pulled out of the ban agreement due to the U.S threats when Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan remained committed to the pact. However, Uganda and Tanzania has caved in as the United States pressure mounts.
Meanwhile, Rwanda, whose president heads the African Union that just signed a Unified Continental trade deal has declined to give in, and for that, the US has issued Rwanda a 60 day ultimatum to comply or have its duty-free status under AGAO suspended.
Pushing further, a media statement revealed that “the President believes suspension of these benefits, instead of termination of Rwanda’s status as an AGOA beneficiary, would allow for continued engagement with the aim of restoring market access and thereby bringing Rwanda into compliance with the AGOA eligibility requirements.”