Donald Trump’s administration has suspended duty-free exports on clothes to Rwanda after the East African nation imposed tariffs on US imports of second-hand clothing and footwear which it blames for harming the local textile industry.
“The president’s action does not affect the vast majority of Rwanda’s exports to the US”, a statement by the office of the US trade representative read.
The clothes imports account for 3% of what Rwanda exports to the US under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) and are valued at $1.5m (£1m).
Rwanda’s position had been widely adopted by East Africa’s states but Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda dropped their stance fearing retaliatory action that would lead to loss of access to US markets via Agoa.
Rwanda clothing imports have so far dropped by a third.