Rwanda has commended the United States government for having initiated the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), adding that it was Washington’s discretion to withdraw AGOA benefits.
This is contained in a statement by the Ministry of Trade and Industry on Tuesday, released a few days after the US announced the intention to suspend Rwanda from the list of countries whose apparel exports enter the American market duty-free.
The decision by the US is a result of a move by East African countries to raise tariffs on used clothes to promote the local textile industry.
“The notification by the United States on suspension of duty-free status for Rwandan apparel products under the African Growth and Opportunity Act follows a decision by East African countries to raise tariffs on second-hand clothing imports, in order to promote local manufacturing capacity in garment and other industries.
“AGOA is a commendable unilateral gesture to African countries, including Rwanda, meant to promote trade and development through exports. The withdrawal of AGOA benefits is at the discretion of the United States,” the statement released by the Ministry of Trade and Industry said.
In 2006, the Heads of State of Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda agreed to take measures to gradually phase out second-hand clothing.
AGOA was originally set to expire in 2015 but it has since been renewed to 2025.