The imminent closure of one of the largest foreign-owned textile companies in Namibia is expected to deal a serious blow to the country's fledgling textile industry. The Namibia Food and Allied Workers' Union (NAFAU) announced on Monday that it had received confirmation of the permanent closure on 30 April of the Rhino Garments factory, a subsidiary of the Malaysian company, Ramatex Textiles. Ramatex invested US $150 million in Namibia's textile sector and started operations in 2002, in the hope that it could take advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act, which granted various developing countries preferential access to US markets. However, this advantage ended on 1 January 2005, when the US was compelled by World Trade Organisation rules to scrap quotas for selected countries, which had penalised major producers such as China and India.
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