Washington, DC – The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative today 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 Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda, to phase in a ban on imports of used clothing and footwear is imposing significant economic hardship on the U.S. used clothing industry.
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.
A public hearing will take place July 13, 2017 in Washington, DC. A Federal Register notice containing information related to this review is available at www.regulations.gov under docket number USTR-2017-0008.
Signed into law in 2000, the African Growth and Opportunity Act promotes trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa, including through 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 U.S. trade and investment, among others.
U.S. AGOA imports from Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda totaled $43 million in 2016, up from $33 million in 2015. U.S. exports to Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda totaled $281 million in 2016, up from $257 million in 2015.