Taiwan's garment manufacturers are making the most of the perks offered by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) by expanding production in their factories in sub-Saharan Africa.

The AGOA provides duty and quota-free access to the US market for apparel made in sub-Saharan countries in a number of categories. One company already benefiting is Nan Woei Industrial, which is spending $2.4 million on 1100 new sewing machines at its plant in Swaziland plant in an attempt to meet a heavy backlog of orders.

Nien Hsing Textile is also adding to its capacity in the region, with a new denim plant opening this quarter. It will have a capacity of 45,000 dozen garments a month - adding to Nien Hsing's two other Lesotho factories. These have a combined monthly production run of 93,000 dozen garments.

The fact that US imports of apparel using African-made fabrics have duty-free status under AGOA has prompted Nien Hsing to invest NT$1 billion in a denim fabric mill. This will have an initial production capacity of 1.6 million yards per month.