The US ambassador to Rwanda and Minicom officials yesterday held a press conference to address travel goods and luggage products that will receive duty-free treatment under generalized system of preferences (GSP).
Reacting to the review, Gilbert Kubwimana, the country director of Songa designers – a company which deals in handicrafts – said they will improve their products to meet the demands of US market.
“The transport cost has been high. This is a chance for other enterprises in our country to increase production and boost exports which will enable them access this market,” Kubwimana said.
On June 30 this year, US President Barack Obama issued a proclamation to implement the results of the 2015/2016 GSP annual product review.
Under this review, Obama added 27 travel and luggage goods products to GSP eligibility for least-developed beneficiary developing countries (LDBDCs) and African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) countries.
GSP is a 40-year-old trade preference program under which the United States provides duty-free treatment to many imports from beneficiary developing countries and additional products for LDBDCs.
Trade minister Francois Kanimba said that Rwanda’s exports to US market such as tea, minerals and coffee has been based on demand. He added that this is a good time to develop business between Rwanda and US.
According to the world finance, two-way goods trade between Rwanda and the US totaled $51 million in 2010. US exports to Rwanda were $29.5 million and imports from Rwanda totaled $21.5 million.
Top U.S. exports in 2010 were vaccines, medical devices and electronics. Besides tungsten and pyrethrum, coffee made up more than 85% of U.S. imports from Rwanda in 2010.
The US Ambassador, Barks-Ruggles, said this is an opportunity for SMEs since they are job creators.
“We want to help SMEs expand markets, build capacity and increase trade within the region. The more we promote trade, the more jobs we create jobs for our people and boost the economy,” Ruggles said.
To ease doing business between the two countries, Ruggles said they are going to make sure that Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) are eliminated to reduce the cost of trade.
Credit: All Africa