A senior US trade official has urged Kenya the other East African Community countries Uganda and Tanzania to “revisit” their collective ban on second hand clothes imports.
The official said that reasons given in support of the ban by Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda “are not supported by data or research,” said Ms Constance Hamilton, acting assistant US trade representative for Africa.
His comments will be translated to mean that the Trump administration is in support of US business association which argues that the three countries violated the eligibility criteria for the preferential trade program known as Agoa.
The African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) stipulates that participating countries must eliminate “barriers to US trade” or be making progress in that direction.
The US-based Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (Smart) presented that the three-year phase out of second hand clothe imports, commonly known as mitumba, amounts to such a barrier.
Smart petitioned US trade officials in March block Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda from the Agoa deal.
The three phase-out is likely to jeopardize 40,000 jobs in the US recycled-clothing industry, according to Smart.
Kenya initially agreed to implement the EAC ban on mitumba, but rescinded the decision.