A US-based lobby group has filed a petition with American trade authorities challenging Kenya’s plan to band second hand clothes imports, commonly known as mitumba.
East African Heads of State in 2015 agreed to work on together to block second hand clothes imports in an aim to revive the local textile industry.
The United States based non-governmental organization; Smart has moved to seek cancellation of the Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade deal, condemning the East African Community for failing to honor agreements by banning mitumba imports.
The NGO argues the East Africa Community move puts over 40,000 jobs in the second hand clothes industry at risk if the second hand clothes ban takes effect.
But speaking on the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing, China, Trade Cabinet secretary Adan Mohamed dismissed the petition by the NGO adding that it was misinformed. “That group (Smart) has filed a petition with the US trade representative to see how we should be reviewed as an out of cycle program because of the actions the East African Nations have taken around the second hand clothes in particular,” Mohamed said
He added, “Our position is very clear, we have continued to allow mitumba clothes to come into our country, we have no ban in place and that position is clear. The petition claims that we have banned those products which are totally untrue, and we are engaging with the US authorities to clarify some of those issues.”