On June 20, 2017, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), in consultation with the Trade Policy Staff Committee (TPSC), published in the Federal Register a notice [Docket No. USTR–2017–0008] announcing the initiation of an out-of-cycle review of the eligibility of Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda to receive benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in response to a petition filed by the Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles Association (SMART).

The SMART petition asserts that a March 2016 decision by the East African Community (EAC), which includes the three countries and Kenya, to phase in a ban on imports of used clothing and footwear is imposing significant economic hardship on the U.S. used clothing industry, and is in violation of the AGOA statutory eligibility criteria to make continual progress toward establishing a market based economy and eliminating barriers to U.S. trade and investment. With respect to Kenya, USTR has determined that an out-of-cycle review of Kenya’s AGOA eligibility is not warranted at this time, due to recent actions Kenya has taken, including reversing tariff increases, effective July 1, 2017, and committing not to ban imports of used clothing through policy measures that are more trade-restrictive than necessary to protect human health. USTR will continue to monitor Kenya’s actions to ensure that Kenya follows through on its commitments. The USTR has consulted with Congress about these determinations.

The AGOA Subcommittee of the TPSC (Subcommittee) will consider written comments, written testimony, and oral testimony in response to this notice to develop recommendations for the President as to whether the three countries are meeting the AGOA eligibility criteria.

The Deadline for filing requests to appear at the July 13, 2017 public hearing, and for filing prehearing briefs, statements, or comments on the AGOA eligibility of the three countries is June 30, 2017.

The AGOA Implementation Subcommittee of the TPSC will convene a public hearing on the AGOA eligibility of the listed countries is July 13, 2017.

Deadline for filing post-hearing briefs, statements, or comments on this matter is July 21, 2017.