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DEBBIE NORRELL

I’m sure someone is expecting me to write about the song, “Baby it’s cold outside.” I have to admit it was on my mind so I looked at the original lyrics. I don’t think these lyrics are anything to ban a song over. This might be the part that has people upset: “The neighbors might think, baby, it’s bad out there, say, what’s in this drink, no cabs to be had out there, I wish I knew how, your eyes are like starlight now, to break this spell, I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell.”

Is it the part where she asks,“what’s in this drink?” I never paid attention to the song before but I don’t think a ban is necessary. There are so many songs that are 100 times worse but I think because they are heard on stations that we pay for the ban is not needed. What does not playing “Baby its cold outside” solve? When you find out, let me know.

In the meantime I was getting ready for work the other day and I happened to look at the label inside of the slacks that I was putting on. These were not brand new pants, they are at least a year old Gloria Vanderbilt’s and I noticed they were made in Kenya. I thought I was seeing things. When did they start making clothes like this in Kenya? So I looked it up and found that a sprawling industrial park south of Nairobi was supposed to be a centerpiece of a Clinton-era U.S.-Africa trade program designed to make “Made in Kenya” almost as familiar as clothing labels from China and Taiwan. Well-known American brands, including wrinkle-free Dockers, Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and Izod polo shirts were rolling off sewing assembly lines here before being shipped to Target, Sears and other U.S. retailers. Signed into law by President Clinton in 2000, AGOA waived U.S. duties for 39 qualifying sub-Saharan African countries, allowing them to sell African goods to U.S. customers for 15 percent to 30 percent less than rival exporters. The U.S. program was designed to help free-market African economies diversify their manufacturing bases and create jobs. But critics say it has instead largely subsidized the export of oil to the U.S. by waiving duties for firms in a handful of petroleum-producing nations who hardly needed increased incentives.

This was almost 10 years ago. I guess I was not paying attention and never bought any of the brands made in Kenya until recently. So what is going on with the Africa trade program? Reportedly, combined imports from Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda under AGOA’s duty-free provisions amounted to $43 million in 2016—up from $33 million in 2015. AGOA is a far more valuable instrument for Kenya, which exported $394 million worth of textiles and apparel to the U.S. in 2016. The Trump administration intends to rigorously enforce AGOA eligibility requirements. It is all so complicated as most of politics is to me. You’re not going to get this information from a tweet, you have to dig it out.

(Email Debbie at debbienorrell@aol.com.)

 

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