The withdrawal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) benefits is "at the discretion of the United States," the Rwandan government has said.
In a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate revealed by the White House last Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump said he was providing advance notification of his intent to suspend the application of duty-free treatment to all AGOA-eligible goods in the apparel sector for Rwanda.
The government of Rwanda continues to impose barriers to the United States trade, specifically, barriers affecting certain United States exports of apparel products, Trump said in the letter.
The notification by the United States on the suspension of duty-free status for Rwandan apparel products under the AGOA follows a decision by East African countries to raise tariffs on second-hand clothing imports, in order to promote local manufacturing capacity in the garment and other industries, said Rwandan Ministry of Trade and Industry in a statement released Tuesday.
AGOA is a commendable unilateral gesture to African countries, including Rwanda, meant to promote trade and development through exports, said the statement.
"The withdrawal of AGOA benefits is at the discretion of the United States," it said.
AGOA is a U.S. trade act that enhances market access to the U.S. for qualifying sub-Saharan African countries.