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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:AGOA, Lesotho's 'Clothing Miracle' and the Politics of Sweatshops
Author:Gibbon, Peter
Periodical:Review of African Political Economy
Geographic term:Lesotho
Subjects:work environment
trade unions
industrial development
clothing industry
Labor and Employment
international relations
Economics and Trade
Abbreviation:AGOA=African Growth and Opportunities Act
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/03056244.2003.9693503
Abstract:The Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was signed into US law in August 2000. Perhaps the most important provision of this first version of the Act was that it conferred duty-free status on clothing articles directly imported into the US from beneficiary countries until September 2008. Lesotho is one such beneficiary country. In 1999, when it became apparent that AGOA was likely to be approved, a number of foreign companies opened clothing plants or added additional capacity in Lesotho and a period of explosive growth of the clothing industry began in this country. The new generation of US and EU preferential trade agreements and offers are widely criticized for promoting industrial development in the Third World of an exclusively 'low road' kind: low investment, cheap labour, low skills and only short-term benefits. The Lesotho example shows that AGOA generates some of the same effects. On the other hand, it is also associated with the initiation of some clearly longer-term investment commitments, significant growth in employment and income generation, and the consolidation of an important new force in civil society: the Lesotho Clothing & Allied Workers' Union (LECAWU). [ASC Leiden abstract]