Textiles from the Congo and other countries could be banned in EU, EU officials say
Textiles, footwear and other agricultural products imported from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other African countries could face restrictions in Europe, as the European Union aims to combat a growing threat to its livelihoods.
European Union officials told reporters that the bloc would begin a process to ban all textiles and agricultural products from the DRC and the neighbouring countries of Burundi and South Sudan on January 15, 2017.
This is a significant milestone for us as a trading partner,” an EU spokesman told reporters.”
We are determined to reduce trade in commodities to the lowest levels possible, in line with our obligations under international law.
“The European Union will work with its trade partners to ensure that the goods are manufactured in compliance with the rules, which will include ensuring that textiles do not contain insecticides or other harmful substances.
The EU has been taking action against textile exports since at least 2010, when the bloc imposed sanctions on a Russian textile company, accusing it of using slave labor in the Driba region of South Sudan.
The European Commission has since imposed a raft of restrictions on the country, including an embargo on all textile exports from March 2014 until March 2019.
The ban comes as the EU is trying to reduce its trade deficit with South Sudan, which was at $2.6 billion in 2016 and is projected to reach $5.9 billion by 2019.
South Sudan is Africa’s biggest importer of textiles.
The country is struggling to reduce the impact of the conflict in neighboring Congo.
The government says it is fighting corruption and human rights violations.
The EU is considering introducing tariffs on textile imports from Burundian and Sudanese countries, the spokesman said.
The new measures would be part of a broader European Commission action plan to tackle the trade deficit between the bloc and South Africa, which is also seeking to limit its trade with the Droga region, where it has a substantial textile industry.
The measures could be put in place as early as next year, the EU said.