East Africa to ban import of used cars, clothesnaved
East African countries could ban imports of used clothes and second-hand cars in the next three years, putting an end to a lucrative trade in the region. The EAC directed member countries to buy their textiles and shoes from within the region with a view to phasing out imports by 2019.
The move follows a decision by the six-nation East African Community – Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and South Sudan – to fully ban imported second-hand clothes, shoes and used cars by 2019, arguing it would help member countries boost domestic manufacturing.
Second-hand cars have also been blamed for causing accidents. To avoid paying taxes, people pay bribes at ports to import cars. Those cars then do not go through any safety checks. To give some idea of the extent of smuggled imports, recent news reports claim that over 2,700 shipping containers had disappeared in at Dar es Salaam port in Tanzania.
The U.S. Trade Representative is also threatening to review trade benefits to Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) after a complaint by U.S. interests about East African ban on imports of used clothing.
The AGOA trade program provides eligible sub-Saharan countries 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.
U.S. AGOA imports from Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda totaled $43 million in 2016, up from $33 million in 2015. U.S. exports to Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda were $281 million in 2016, up from $257 million the year before.