Paul Kagame the Rwandan President has stated that his country will stick to its ban on used clothes despite threats by the United States to review trade benefits to Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and South Sudan decided to fully ban imported second-hand clothes and shoes by 2019, arguing it would help member countries boost domestic clothes manufacturing.

In response the U.S. Trade Representative said last Tuesday that it was reviewing trade benefits to the 3 countries following a petition filed by a US body that complained that the ban “imposed significant hardship” on the U.S. used-clothing industry.

He said as signatories to the AGOA trade programme which offers duty-free access to the United States, that decision violates the trade conditions

Kagame  however last week told local media that Rwanda will choose to grow its local textile industry at the expense of being a member of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA).

“This is the choice we find that we have to make. As far as I am concerned, making the choice is simple, we might suffer consequences. Even when confronted with difficult choices, there is always a way,” he said after officially applying to run for a third term in office.

“Rwanda and other countries in the region that are part of AGOA, have to do other things, we have to grow and establish our industries,” Kagame added.

U.S. imports from Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda totaled $43 million in 2016, up from $33 million in 2015 while exports were $281 million in 2016, up from $257 million in 2015.

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