The USAID Southern Africa Trade and Investment Hub (USAID TradeHub), working with its U.S. partner, Registrar Corp, has helped earn Food and Drug Administration (FDA) waivers for southern African firms seeking to export personal protective equipment (PPE) to the United States. The 14 firms are among a group of 27 from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, and South Africa that, with USAID TradeHub support, are repurposing their manufacturing operations to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Five of the 14 firms submitted for FDA registration have been granted waivers to export select items to the United States while the remaining nine firms are in the final stages of registration. The FDA waivers, which are due to expire in December 2020, apply to washable face masks, surgical caps, surgical suits, and non-surgical isolation gowns. The waivers will net processing cost savings of approximately $34,000 for the five companies combined—Lesotho-based Afri-Expo Textiles, Eswatini-based Clockwork Giant Clothing and Zheng Yong, and South Africa-based Bespoke Manufacturers and Beaches Clothing. By continuing to assist southern African firms to earn U.S. market entry, the USAID TradeHub is advancing a key objective of the program while finding innovative ways to overcome the challenges of the ongoing pandemic.
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