Rwanda will not be able to ship locally made apparel products duty- free onto US territory.
President Donald Trump has ordered the ban after expiry of a 60-day notification period that required Rwanda to heed to conditions that would eliminate any barriers that prevent US from trading.
Under the African Growth and Opportunity Act ( AGOA) program, eligible sub-Saharan countries have duty-free access to the United States on condition they meet certain statutory eligibility requirements, including eliminating barriers to U.S. trade and investment, among others.
However, Rwanda does not consider itself as a dumping place for second hand clothes and shoes from the United States and other countries.
In 2016, Rwanda increased the tariffs on imported used clothes from $0.20 to $2.50 per kilo with an intention of eventually phasing out the importation.
Kigali signalled that it would not reverse restrictions on importation of used clothes and shoes, including those from the United States.
After Trump ordered the ban on Rwanda, the U.S. Trade Representative’s office said on Monday, “We regret this outcome and hope it is temporary.”
Deputy USTR C.J. Mahoney said in a statement the move would affect about $1.5 million in annual Rwandan exports, or only about 3% of the Rwanda’s total exports to the United States.