(Ecofin Agency) - The Rwandan government is still determined to ban the importation of second-hand clothes from the U.S, despite being pressured by the latter.
This measure, adopted in 2015 by the East African Community (EAC), aimed to suspend by 2018, import of cheap used clothes and footwear from Uncle Sam’s country.
In response to this decision, the U.S threatened to eject Rwanda as well as Uganda and Tanzania from AGOA, a program that allows the countries to export their products, duty-free, to U.S over the 2015-2025 period.
“Rwanda’s stance has not changed. We want to build domestic textile industries, we want to promote Made-in-Rwanda and close the trade deficit gap by reducing importation of goods which we can locally produce such as clothes and shoes”, explained Vincent Munyeshyaka (photo), Rwandan trade and industry minister.
As for Robert Opirah, Head of Investment department at the ministry, he said: “In facilitating the growth of local textile and shoe industries we are doing exactly what was agreed [ed: Washington, 2015] and they (U.S) are saying ‘no you can’t. We will keep serving you with our second-hand clothes. You can’t grow your industries’. It beats my understanding”.
With its strategy to grow textile-clothing and leather sectors, the Rwandan government expects to generate more than 25,600 jobs. It also plans to cut the importation of these manufactured items to $33 million by 2019 against $124 million in 2015.