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Duty-Free Treatment for Folklore Articles and Ethnic Fabrics from Benin

Wednesday, June 19, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Committee for the Implementation of Textile Agreements has determined that the following textile and apparel goods produced in and exported from Benin will be treated as folklore articles and ethnic printed fabrics and qualify for duty-free treatment under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. CITA has therefore directed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to allow, effective June 14, the duty-free entry of such products under HTSUS 9819.11.27 when accompanied by an AGOA export visa for grouping 9 (handmade, hand-loomed or folklore articles or ethnic printed fabrics) issued by the government of Benin.

Bomba: Made of cotton and/or synthetic fibers. Hand-woven on manually-operated looms, then hand or machine stitched. There are also fringes on the end of the sleeves and the bottom of the shirt. The shirt extends beyond the waist, has a pocket and an open neck that stays closed, and the sleeves extend a little past the elbow. The embroidery is around the neck, down the neck opening to the chest, and on top of the pocket. The pants are baggy and have no embroidery. The pattern of the ensemble is houndstooth and the colors are variable, white and black.

Barmassou (Daunchiki): Made of cotton and/or synthetic fibers. Bands are hand-woven in manually-operated looms, then machine stitched together to form a wider substrate. This is a three-piece garment for men – hat, loose fitting outer garment that extends from the thorax to the knees, and baggy pants. Patterns can vary but are usually plain weave. Colors are usually white and sometimes black and white.

Boubou (Batik Peulh or Aizo): Made of cotton textile amassed, hand or machine assembled and hand dyed with repetitive patterns. This is a one-piece dress for women and is loose fitting with sleeves going to or a little past the elbow and the bottom of the garment going slightly past the knees. The edges of the sleeves and the bottom usually have fringes. Patterns and colors vary.

Daunchiki: Made of cotton and/or synthetic fibers. Bands are hand-woven in manually-operated looms, then machine stitched together to form a wider substrate. This is a three-piece garment for men – hat, loose fitting outer garment that extends from the thorax to the knees, and baggy pants with a cord that acts as a belt. Patterns are stripes of “fakle issile.” Colors are usually white and sometimes black and white.

King’s hat (Daa zaa): Made of cotton. This is a cap for men. It is cylindrical in shape. It has various patterns and designs and colors.

Peulh: Made of cotton from manually-operated loom. This is a one-piece dress/robe for women and is loose fitting with sleeves ending at the shoulder and the bottom of the dress/robe going to the mid-shin level. This dress also has a slight v-neck that can be closed at the top with a loop and bottom. Colors and patterns vary.

Tako: Made of cotton bands hand-woven in manually-operated looms, then hand and/or machined stitched together to form a wider substrate. This is a three-piece garment for men – hat, loose fitting outer garment that extends from the thorax to the feet, and baggy pants. Patterns are a mix of guinea fowl and bakoko. Comes in various colors, usually with vertical strips.

Tako (Grand Baubou): Made of cotton bands hand-woven in manually-operated looms, then hand and/or machined stitched together to form a wider substrate. This is a three-piece garment for men – hat, loose fitting outer garment that extends from the thorax to the feet, and baggy pants. The pattern varies and is usually plain weave. The colors are typically white and black and white.

Tchanka (Cavaliers Pants): Made of cotton fabric hand-woven operated on looms by hand and machine stitched. The colors vary and the pattern is houndstooth then gbangbana. It is a loose fitting pants for men, consisting of baggy from the waist to approximately the knees and then tighter after the knees to the ankles.

Wanwolovo: Made of a mix of cotton and synthetic fibers. It is hand-woven from a manually-operated loom to form a chain of patterns. This is a three-piece garment for women consisting of a wrap that goes around the body above the breast area and under the arms going down to below the knees, another wrap hanging over one shoulder, and the last wrap wrapped around the head. It has a chain of patterns. These wraps can have fringes on the ends. Colors are blue, red and white but colors can vary.

Each ethnic print must meet all of the following criteria: selvedge on both edges; width of less than 50 inches; classifiable under HTSUS 5208.52.30or 5208.52.40; contains designs, symbols and other characteristics of African prints normally produced for and sold in Africa by the piece; made from fabric woven in the U.S. using U.S. yarn or woven in one or more eligible sub-Saharan beneficiary countries using U.S or African yarn; and printed, including waxed, in one or more eligible sub-Saharan beneficiary countries.

CITA notes that to qualify for preferential treatment these articles must be ornamented in characteristic Benin or regional folk style. Articles may not include modern features such as zippers, elastic, elasticized fabrics, snaps or hook-and-pile fasteners (such as velcro© or similar holding fabric). Articles also may not incorporate patterns that are not traditional or historical to Benin, such as airplanes, buses, cowboys or cartoon characters, and may not incorporate designs referencing holidays or festivals not common to traditional Benin culture, such as Halloween and Thanksgiving.

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