US workers have appealed to US Trade Representative to eliminate Swaziland from the lucrative apparel and textile markets. As a result Swaziland stands to lose AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) benefits as the American Federation of Labour and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) accuse the government of interfering with the rights of workers. The country is also being accused of failing to observe the rights of association, the right to organise and bargain collectively, and the right to acceptable conditions of service.
Owing to pressure from workers and civil society, President Obama terminated trade benefits for Guinea, Madagascar and Niger in 2009 due to failure in making continual progress in meeting US requirements for the AGOA. However, trade benefits were restored in 2011 after President Obama had satisfied himself that there was continual democratic progress in these three African nations.
The AFL-CIO is the same federation that had put pressure on the then President Bill Clinton in 1999 and 2000 to remove Swaziland from the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) until His Majesty the King led a delegation to the US to intervene.
The total US, Swaziland trading was worth $107 million trade in 2012. Swaziland’s exports to the US included knit apparel worth $31 million, wovens apparel valued at $29 million among other articles. This is, therefore, the market workers in America say the country must forfeit. <br/>