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Is Canada Swaziland抯 AGOA alternative?Tuesday, October 14, 2014 > 09:59:25
With Swaziland having lost its AGOA eligibility status and no concrete hope of readmission during the December review, it looks more likely that Canada could be the kingdom’s next export partner for textile products.
This week, Canadian High Commissioner to Mozambique, Malawi and Swaziland Shawn Barber was in the country to present letters of credence to His Majesty King Mswati III and he could not stop singing praises about the kingdom’s textile industry.
He even took to social networking site Twitter to air his views.
“Africa needs more factories like this one that I toured this morning in Swazi - 1800 workers. #development #swaziland,” he tweeted and posted a picture of the factory he visited. He also met with Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Affairs Mgwagwa Gamedze and he also posted on Twitter on what was discussed.
“Just finished meeting with Swazi FM Chief Gamedze. Good discussion on the Swazi economy, boosting exports to Canada and human rights,” he wrote.
Before coming to Swaziland from Mozambique, he also tweeted the following: “Off to Swaziland today to present my diplomatic credentials to King Mswati. Should be an interesting discussion.”
After meeting the King, he again tweeted: “Great meeting with Swazi King Mswati III yesterday afternoon. Talked about expanding trade and investment and modernising Swaziland.
When he presented his credentials to the King, Barber was quoted in the local media saying the government of Canada was exploring avenues to establish an export market for the local textile industry.
“Using our Canada Fund for local initiatives we are working with the local textile associations to bring a Canadian expert to Swaziland in the next several months to provide advice and guidance on exporting Swazi textiles to Canadian market place,” he was quoted saying.
He reportedly said Canada hoped to replicate such assistance to Swazi exporters again next year.
Information gathered on Canada is that it made significant changes a decade ago by eliminating all tariffs and quotas on imports from the poorest countries.
It is reported that while the average tarriff on all goods exported to Canada was less than one percent of textile and clothing products subject to tariffs had greater than 15 percent.
Canada is said to have imported clothing from Bangladesh worth $330 million in 2003 and soared to $1.1 billion by 2012.
Clothing imports from Cambodia were reportedly $83 million in 2003 but rose to over half a billion by 2012.