East African states defend tariff on used clothes
Customers at a secondhand clothes stall in Nyeri, Kenya. Tanzania argued that the EAC decision to phase out importation of second hand clothing and leather is yet to be implemented
Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda are defending their decision to raise tariffs on imported secondhand clothes, saying it is based on current value, trade realignment and that —for Rwanda— it’s a one-off.
The three countries are reacting to calls by a US business association to restrict their eligibility for the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa).
Together with the East African Community Secretariat, they have written to the panel of the out-of-cycle review, comprised of representatives of six US government agencies: the Departments of Commerce, Labour, Treasury and State, as well as the US Agency for International Development and the Office of the US Trade Representative.
The review could decide if the three countries should lose some of the benefits of Agoa. Tanzania and Uganda, in their submissions, insisted that the doubling of levies on imports of used clothing, from $0.20 to $0.40 per kilogramme, was for realignments with the current value.
Tanzania’s Trade Permanent Secretary Adolf Mkenda said increase or decrease of tax, duties and fees is a fiscal decision, which is implemented as part of annual fiscal measures.