CLINTON’S AFRICAN ORDER
WASHINGTON — President Clinton signed an executive order Thursday bringing duty-free apparel import benefits one step closer for 48 sub-Saharan African countries.
The benefits were spelled out in trade legislation passed last year that also included granting duty-free benefits to apparel made in the Caribbean Basin from U.S. textiles and some regional fabric, which went into effect in October.
Clinton’s action, among his last as President, directs various federal agencies to decide when sub-Saharan countries have met criteria to start exporting apparel. This includes the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative determining when these countries have an effective visa system to ward against transshipment of nonqualifying apparel, and Commerce’s Committee for Implementation of Textile Agreements judging whether U.S.-made yarns and fabrics can be supplied to African countries in commercial quantities.
The duty-free African apparel benefits cover garments made from U.S. and African fabric. The poorest of the African countries are granted limited exceptions to this fabric rule and can use some textiles from other sources.