Accessibility links

Entrepreneur Urges Washington to Include South African Apparel in AGOA

  • Peter Clottey

Doreen Vilakazi, Chief Executive Officer of South Africa-based TRUBOK apparel manufacturing company

Doreen Vilakazi, Chief Executive Officer of South Africa-based TRUBOK apparel manufacturing company

The chief executive officer of the South Africa-based TRUBOK, an apparel manufacturing company, has called on the U.S. government to open its vast market to high quality garments produced in her country.

Doreen Vilakazi, who will participate in the upcoming Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) conference, scheduled in August, said her revamped apparel manufacturing company is producing quality garments that will rival products from any part of the world.

Vilakazi said, since taking over the affairs of apparel manufacturing company TRUBOK, her focus has been on the manufacturing of clothes, emphasizing quality for the local South African market, as well as the international market including the United States and Europe.

AGOA, which is a U.S. Trade Act, significantly enhances access to America’s market for 39 sub-Saharan African countries.

The ninth annual AGOA forum is scheduled to take place in two parts: August 2-3 in Washington, D.C. and August 5-6 in Kansas City, Missouri. The theme of the conference is "AGOA at 10, New Strategies for a Changing World."

CEO Vilakazi said South Africa wants to be part of the countries currently benefiting from AGOA.

“AGOA is critical to the South African manufacturers. We are going to Washington to negotiate with the powers there to make sure that South Africa is part of the countries that are benefiting from AGOA. It is very critical and we really want to say that to the USA government that we will like to be part of it as South Africa,” Vilakazi said.

Initially, the U.S. act originally covered an eight-year period from October 2000 to September 2008, but amendments signed into law by former President George W. Bush in July, 2004 further extend AGOA to 2015.

Recently, Florie Liser, U.S. Assistant Trade Representative to Africa, has urged American apparel buyers, especially from the big players like Walmart and Target, to source at least one percent of their apparel from Africa.

CEO Vilakazi said there is a need for the big American apparel buyers to consider buying high quality garments from her company.

“We will like those companies that are big (such as Walmart) to source at least one percent because I can tell you now that TRUBOK is supporting so many families in South Africa. We are employing 1300 people and one person in South Africa will support about five to 10 people,” Vilakazi said.

XS
SM
MD
LG