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  • ITVI.USA
    14,255.530
    -14.610
    -0.1%
  • OTRI.USA
    22.660
    0.190
    0.8%
  • OTVI.USA
    14,245.400
    -13.510
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  • TLT.USA
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  • TSTOPVRPM.DALLAX
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  • TSTOPVRPM.LAXDAL
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American Shipper

U.S. to suspend Rwanda apparel benefits under AGOA

The White House made the announcement Thursday, after concluding an out-of-cycle eligibility review for two other beneficiaries under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), pursuant to a March 2017 petition by a used clothing organization.

   Starting May 28, the U.S. will suspend Rwanda’s duty-free benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for apparel exports, after the Trump administration found that the country maintains barriers against U.S. apparel exports, the White House announced Thursday.
   The Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART) on March 21, 2017, in a petition to the U.S. government, claimed that the East African Community’s (EAC’s) 2016 decision to phase in a ban of used clothing and footwear imports imposes “significant economic hardship” on the U.S. used clothing industry, and is inconsistent with AGOA beneficiary criteria, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) said in a statement.
   The Trump administration had initiated an out-of-cycle AGOA eligibility review for Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.
   The EAC comprises those three countries, as well as Kenya, Burundi and South Sudan. The administration decided to omit Kenya from its review because the country committed to not banning imports of used clothing either through prohibitive tariffs or other policy measures, USTR said. Burundi and South Sudan are not currently eligible for AGOA.
   The administration isn’t suspending benefits for Tanzania or Uganda because they have taken steps toward eliminating prohibitive tariffs on used clothing and footwear, and committed not to phase in a ban on those products, USTR said.
   The review determined Rwanda isn’t making sufficient progress toward elimination of U.S. trade and investment barriers, and is therefore out of compliance with AGOA eligibility requirements, USTR said.
   This is despite “intense engagement” by U.S. officials with the government of Rwanda, the White House said.
   “The suspension of duty-free treatment described above is a more appropriate response in these circumstances than the termination of the Government of Rwanda’s designation as a beneficiary sub Saharan African country under AGOA, as it promotes the continuation of efforts between the United States and Rwanda to resolve outstanding issues,” the White House said. “Although the Government of Rwanda has failed to meet critical benchmarks required to address these issues to date, it continues to express an interest in resolving United States concerns.”