Titusinder af afrikanske tekstilarbejdere holder vejret
Nøglebestemmelse i en amerikansk handelslov, der sikrer toldfri import af beklædning til USA fra udvalgte afrikanske lande, løber ud til september - men vil den blive fornyet af kongressen i Washington D.C.?
JOHANNESBURG, 17 July 2012 (IRIN): The livelihoods of tens of thousands of textile workers in Africa is hanging in the balance amid growing anxiety about whether a key provision (bestemmelse) of US trade legislation will be renewed before it expires in September.
The African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) was enacted by former President Bill Clinton in 2000 with the aim of boosting trade and development in eligible (egnede/udvalgte) African countries by allowing them to export products to the USA, duty-free.
A large proportion of these products are garments (beklædning), with exports from Africa to the USA now representing more than 800 million US dollar and creating an estimated 300.000 new jobs mainly in Lesotho, Swaziland, Kenya and Mauritius, according to a recent report by the Brookings Institution.
Madagascar's garment industry also benefited from AGOA until it was declared ineligible following a coup in 2009.
Aside from having preferential access to US markets, the competitiveness of these clothing and textile products relies on a provision of AGOA that allows manufacturers to import inexpensive yarn (garn) and fabric (vævede stoffer) from another country, such as India or China.
Although AGOA itself is not due for renewal until 2015, the so-called Third Country Fabric (TCF) Provision is set to expire at the end of September. Without it, fledgling textile industries all over Africa are likely to flounder (hakke i det).
The uncertainty surrounding whether or not the provision will be renewed has already resulted in a 30 percent drop in clothing orders from US buyers and the loss of thousands of jobs since January, according to a coalition of African manufacturers and US importers.
They have appealed to the US Congress to approve the legislation as quickly as possible.