Rwanda - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Agreements

Describes trade agreements this country is a party to. Includes resources where US companies can get information on how to take advantage of these agreements.  

Last published date: 2021-11-11

Rwanda is one of 19 members of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) (www.comesa.int) that offers preferential terms of trade for its members.  Rwanda is also a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) (www.wto.org) and joined the EAC (www.eac.int) in 2007 and the Commonwealth (https://thecommonwealth.org/in 2009.  It is also a member of the Economic Community of the Great Lakes and the Economic Community of Central African States.  Rwanda hosted the signing ceremony for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement in 2018 and was one of the first countries to ratify that agreement.  It entered into force in May 2019 and trading started in January 2021.  While the EAC now has a Customs Union and Common Market, the slow pace of regulatory reform, lack of harmonization, non-tariff barriers, and bureaucratic inefficiencies still hamper the free movement of goods, capital, and people.  Except for apparel products, Rwanda is eligible for trade preferences under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which the United States enacted to extend duty-free and quota-free access to the U.S. market for many goods produced in eligible beneficiary countries.  Rwanda qualifies for special tariff treatment under the Generalized System of Tariffs. 

The United States and Rwanda signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA)) at https://ustr.gov/sites/default/files/US-Rwanda%20TIFA.pdf in 2006, and a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) in 2008.  The most recent TIFA meeting was held on October 28-30, 2019.

Rwanda has active bilateral investment treaties with Germany (1969), Belgium-Luxemburg Economic Union (1985), and the Republic of Korea (2013).  Rwanda signed bilateral investment treaties with Mauritius (2001), South Africa (2000), Turkey (2016), Morocco (2016), the United Arab Emirates (2016), Qatar (2018), and Singapore (2018), but these treaties have yet to enter into force.  Rwanda signed the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EAC and the European Union; this agreement has not yet entered into force.