USTR Announces AGOA Review for Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda - Global Trade Magazine
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  June 21st, 2017 | Written by

USTR Announces AGOA Review for Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda

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  • USTR will conduct out-of-cycle review on the eligibility of three east African countries to receive AGOA benefits.
  • US exporters group complained the East African Community plans a ban on imports of used clothing and footwear.
  • AGOA promotes trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa with substantial trade preferences.

The Office of the United States Trade Representative has announced the initiation of an out-of-cycle review of the eligibility of Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda to receive benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

The launch of the review is in response to a petition filed by the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART), which asserts that a March 2016 decision by the East African Community, which includes those three countries, to phase in a ban on imports of used clothing and footwear is imposing significant economic hardship on the US used clothing industry.

The African Growth and Opportunity Act was signed into law in 2000 and promotes trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa, through, among other things, substantial trade preferences. In order to qualify for AGOA trade benefits, partner countries must meet certain statutory eligibility requirements, including making continual progress toward establishing market-based economies, the rule of law, political pluralism, and elimination of barriers to US trade and investment.

Through the out-of-cycle review, USTR and trade-related agencies will assess the allegations contained within the SMART petition and review whether Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda are adhering to AGOA’s eligibility requirements.

US AGOA imports from Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda totaled $43 million in 2016, up from $33 million in 2015. US exports to Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda totaled $281 million in 2016, up from $257 million in 2015.

A public hearing on SMART’s petition will take place July 13, 2017 in Washington, DC.