U.S. GIVES MAURITIUS OK

WASHINGTON — The U.S. government today is expected to formally give the African island nation of Mauritius the green light to ship apparel to the U.S. quota-free and, if garments are made with U.S. or African fabric, duty-free.
Mauritius is the second country to qualify for apparel benefits under a trade measure passed last year by Congress covering sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean Basin. The Clinton administration in its last week qualified Kenya. At the time, Mauritius was also designated as a beneficiary, but the paperwork wasn’t completed until after President Bush took office.
In order to receive the duty and quota benefits under the bill, African countries must meet certain requirements, like having proper antitransshipment enforcement mechanisms, a free-market economy and labor standards recognized by the International Labor Organization. Thirty four of the 48 sub-Saharan countries are in line to receive benefits.
Peter Craig, economic counselor at the Embassy of Mauritius, said the country of 1.2 million people is now angling to become a textile manufacturing force in the region and provide fabric for apparel to be produced in other African countries and shipped to the U.S. The country, the largest apparel exporter to the U.S. from Africa, has almost reached capacity for garment manufacturing, he said.
Mauritius’s quota-free benefits will go into effect Feb. 13 and the duty-free benefits are retroactive as of Jan. 19.

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