Used clothing, aka, Okirika; aka OK, have become quite a thing in Nigeria, very popular among the common folks.

And America wants it to remain so.

That's why the American government, is advising African countries considering a ban on importation of Okirika to have a rethink.

It is threatening not to allow any country that bans Okirika from continuing to benefit from Africa Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) Scheme which was established May 2000.

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AGOA is a U.S. Trade Act which allows some African countries to export products to America free of tariffs.

Acting Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Africa, Constance Hamilton, gave the advice in Abuja at a teleconference on the 2017 AGOA Forum.

Hamilton was responding to a question on the ban imposed by the East African Community (EAC) on the importation of second hand products with the aim of growing the indigenous industry.

EAC is an intergovernmental organisation composed of six countries in the African Great Lakes region in eastern Africa.

The countries are: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Burundi, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania had agreed in 2016 to ban the importation of second-hand clothes, leather products and restrict the use of old vehicles by 2018.

Hamilton said: “One of the things that we were telling the countries of the EAC is that, the AGOA criteria is very clear about not putting in place bans or restrictions on U.S. products.

“That is just one of the criteria. We are giving you this advantage to build your apparel sector.

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“As you know, AGOA allows for third country fabric from any place in the world for African countries to produce clothing to send to the U.S. and we encourage that.

“That is what AGOA is about and one of its biggest successes has been in the apparel sector,’’ she said.

“Please do not ban a legitimate American product and hurt U.S. citizens, companies and our employment,” she added.