The Trade Hub is working with Lesotho to improve standards to facilitate export, improve the investment climate and increase trade in textiles and apparel.
Technical Support on Capacity Building for the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation, Trade Policy and Trade Remedies: The Trade Hub has been requested by the US Embassy in Lesotho and USAID to provide technical assistance to the Lesotho Ministry of Trade and Industry in designing and delivering training courses on capacity building for Lesotho to comply with the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation.
The Trade Hub has also been requested to provide forums for Lesotho’s government to fully engage the private sector in the development of a national trade policy for Lesotho, and the establishment of a national body for Tariff and Trade Remedy Investigations. Project commencement discussions are scheduled to take place in Maseru Lesotho in June 2015.
Improving the Business Enabling Environment: Under USAID’s Partnership for Trade Facilitation (PTF) program, the Trade Hub assisted the Lesotho Department of Standards and Quality Assurance (DSQA) to set up an effective World Trade Organization Technical Barriers Trade (TBT) National Enquiry Point (NEP) by purchasing essential IT equipment and office furniture as well as training. An NEP is a reference collection of technical regulations, standards, and certification procedures. The Trade Hub also provided technical assistance to improve the standards development process; strengthen the legal and regulatory framework; and enhance outreach and communication efforts to ensure that private sector is more aware and involved in standardization activities.
Lesotho Investor Roadmap: In 2012, the Trade Hub supported Lesotho in developing an Investor Roadmap that identified the most critical and significant constraints on stimulating investment and enhancing economic growth in Lesotho. Subsequently, the Trade Hub has annually audited Lesotho to provide further recommendations for investment climate reforms. In May 2015, in partnership with the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) and the Department of Policy and Strategic Planning, the Trade Hub conducted an investor roadmap audit and developed an Investor Climate Reform Communications Strategy, which will communicate Lesotho’s progress on its Investor Roadmap goals to implementers, the private sector, and other intended beneficiaries.
Textiles and Apparel: Lesotho, the biggest Southern African textiles/apparel exporter under AGOA, gainfully participated in the Trade Hub supported Source Africa Textile and Apparel Trade Show in 2013 and 2014. In 2012 the Trade Hub developed a SWOT Analysis for the textile and apparel sector in Lesotho to assist in driving a targeted investment promotion strategy.
In February 2015, the Trade Hub supported the participation of six textile and apparel companies from Lesotho in the MAGIC trade show in the U.S. To prepare companies to make the most of their participation, the Trade Hub partnered with LNDC and a U.S. based textile and apparel consultancy to carry out pre-event training, exhibition support and matchmaking.
In addition, the Trade Hub assists Lesotho companies to meet international standards by, for example, sponsoring seminars on Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP).