66,000 Kenyans risk losing their jobs after Trump administration gets offended by EAC plan

US Secretary of Commerce further asked African governments to treat US companies favorably.


The US-based Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association want East Africa Community countries declared ineligible to take part in Agoa for violation of Agoa’s terms.

This follows a directive by EAC member countries to phase out importation of second-hand clothes commonly known as Mitumba some from US by 2019.

“Countries currently benefiting from trade preferences granted by the African Growth and Opportunity Act continue complying with eligibility requirements established by US law.”

US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross said on Wednesday while urging African countries to fulfil their obligations under the terms of Agoa, a preferential trade programme of considerable benefit to Kenya.

The preferential trade agreement earned Kenya Sh35.2 billion in textiles and apparel exports last year.

That comment by a Trump administration cabinet member could be construed as a warning shot to Kenya and the other member-states of the East African Community to reverse the ban

“we would like mitumbas to compete with new clothes produced within East Africa, within Kenya and if those products are much more competitive and much more consumer friendly, of course you will see a reduction in the mitumba business in the country.” CS for Industrialization, Adan Mohamed said at the sidelines of the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation in China.

In East Africa, Uganda and Rwanda have already signed the agreement and Kenya was expected to do so before the U turn.

Mitumba trade is a double edged sword, millions of Kenyans depend on the trade to make a living however the country losses in the long run because a whole textile industry collapses.

More so with Trump administration following through with his protectionists agenda it is ironical that his administration does not like when other countries follow suit and adopt the same, clearly it is America first or more sarcastically God bless America and place else.

Mr Ross further urged African governments to treat US companies favorably.

“Make sure US companies are in the best position possible to enter African markets and that those already there are successful.”  He said in a keynote speech at the three-day summit sponsored by the Washington-based Corporate Council on Africa.


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