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Trump suspends duty-free on Rwanda’s clothes

BBC Africa/Maximilian Kasseh, Jr.
US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump

The US has formally locked out apparel products from Rwanda after the East African nation banned imports of second-hand clothes and shoes.

President Trump has issued a proclamation suspending duty-free treatment for all clothing from Rwanda just six months after he met President Paul Kagame and called him a friend.

Rwandan-made apparel will no longer enter the lucrative American market duty free after President Trump’s proclamation.

The US government says Rwanda has failed to uphold eligibility criteria for the African Growth and Opportunity Act passed 18 years ago to allow more African products into the US.

Rwanda exported apparel worth $1.5m (£1m) to the US in 2017 but that is just 3% of the country’s total exports to the US via Agoa.

In 2016, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda agreed to ban used clothing and footwear by 2019 to protect local textile industries.

Kenya and Tanzania backed down after the US threatened to shut out their exports but Rwanda has continued to impose huge tariffs on second-hand clothes and shoes.

The US says that an African ban on second-hand clothes threatens 40,000 American jobs but Rwanda has previously said it will no longer be a dumping ground.

 


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