The government of Rwandan has opened talks with the United States on the review of the American Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) in a bid to ensure continued duty-free access to the US market.
In July this year, the American began an out of cycle review on the eligibility of Rwanda and other East African Community partner states following a move by the region to phase out and eventually ban import of second hand clothes.
This move was aimed at supporting the regional textile industry and preserving the dignity of the East African citizens.
As part of the move, Rwanda last year increased taxes on used clothes from $0.2 to $2.5 per kilogramme, while taxes on used shoes will increase from $0.2 to $3 per kilogramme.
Rwanda Development Board Chief Operating Officer, Emmanuel Hategeka said that they are in talks with the US to ensure Rwanda is not locked out of the trade window.
“We are talking to our partners in the US. We value our trade and relations with the US and we are doing all that is possible not to be out of cycle and of course we have been engaging on the issue,” he said.
Without mentioning the specific aspects of the negotiations or the tradeoffs the government was willing to make, he said that talks were at an advanced stage.
Exports from Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda through the act totaled $43 million in 2016, whereas US exports into Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda totaled $281 million in 2016.