Update on Proposed East African Country Ban on Importation of Used Clothing
SMART has recently received some inquiries regarding the status of a proposed ban on secondhand clothing in East Africa so I wanted to take the opportunity to provide an update. As members will recall, the East African countries of Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda announced during the 16th East African Community Heads of State summit in February that they were considering a ban on the importation of used clothing and used shoes. Although they claimed this proposal was intended to boost their domestic textile industry, we know this argument is without merit. Those who make up the market for used clothing in these countries are not the same as those who make up the market for new clothing. Eliminating the import of secondhand clothing will simply reduce the availability of affordable clothing to those who need it most, will lead to more contraband and will cause these governments to lose vital tariff revenues.
As we reported at the time, SMART moved quickly on the news, employing the efforts of leading trade officials at the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) and Department of Commerce. These officials took our concerns very seriously, engaging with SMART to learn more about the industry and its impact on the East Africa region, domestically and abroad. Armed with this information, Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa Florie Liser voiced our concerns about this misguided proposal in official correspondence and during face-to-face meetings with African officials during a recent visit to the continent.
As for next steps, SMART's representative on the ITAC-13 (a high-level advisory committee of textile and apparel industry representatives that report to the Administration on trade policy matters) Eric Warshaw and I remain highly involved on this matter. We have alerted our European counterparts at the Bureau of International Recycling and Textile Recycling Association who are monitoring the issue and engaging in advocacy with various officials. We are also preparing correspondence for key U.S. Congressional lawmakers to educate them about this potential ban in light of upcoming re-authorization of the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), a unilateral trade preference program that benefits African nations.
Most importantly, we continue to work with the Commerce Department and USTR to monitor the situation and share information as we learn it. While the situation continues to unfold, please be assured that SMART and its counterparts are engaged at some of the highest levels of government to combat this misguided proposal. We will continue to keep you posted as we learn new information.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com or at 703-521-0545.
The Government Affairs section of SMARTTalk addresses issues of interest to SMART. Please click on the links below for information on a particular topic:
- SMART Bin Position Paper and Draft Ordinance
- Recycle Your Textiles and Clothing Flyer
- SMART Textile Recycling Checklist for Communities
- SMART Transparency Policy Regarding Clothing Donation Boxes
- FTC Green Marketing Guidelines
- Repealing Ocean Shipper Antitrust Immunity
- Lacey Act
- OSHA Combustible Dust Standard
- OSHA Muscoskeletal Disorders (MSD) Rule
- Employee Free Choice Act (a.k.a "card check")
- Proposed FTZ Regulation Changes
- Industry Trade Data
- SMART Coalitions
- SMART Position on Trade Bans
- EPA Wiper Rule
- U.S. Customs Service Interpretation of HTS Code 6309.00
- Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (CPSIA)