EAC MEMBER STATES URGED TO UPHOLD COLLECTIVE BAN ON IMPORTS OF SECOND HAND CLOTHES

KAMPALA, Member nations of the East African Community (EAC) have been urged to adhere to the grouping's decision to ban the importation of second hand clothes in order to promote value addition in the cotton and textile industries in the sub-region.

According to Mukhisa Kitui, the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), adherence to the ban will create domestic demand for textiles and increase the share of manufactured exports of the EAC member States.

My home country, Kenya, for example, imports Boeing planes from the United Staes at a very high cost, so the reciprocity on trade should not be at the level of used clothes. Therefore, East Africa should stand with one voice and resist importation of used clothes into the region, he said during the 2nd Manufacturing and Business Summit held here recently.

Last year, EAC leaders met in Arusha, Tanzania, during their 17th Ordinary summit, and proposed a ban on importation of used clothes, shoes and leather products but Kitui said they have of late come under pressure to reverse the decision.

According to the proposal, the region would devise ways of promoting the Community's textile and leather industries, and stop importation of used clothes, shoes and other leather products from outside the region. The proposal also seeks to prioritise the region's manufacturing sector, with the presidents of Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi expected to promote modalities for industrialisation.

Individual governments should not make reversals on that position because it's a collective decision that was taken at a high level summit, and every individual country must reiterate the collectiveness of the decision. If we have countries doing reversals on key decisions like that, it will have adverse effects on the spirit of integration, Kitui warned.

According to the International Trade Commission, Uganda imports at least 1,500 tonnes of second-hand clothing annually from the United States alone, while another 2,000 tonnes are imported from Britain, Canada and China annually.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK