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African Growth And Opportunity Act (AGOA)
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), 2000 is a United States Trade Act, enacted on 18 May 2000 as Public Law 106 of the 200th   Congress
The main objectives are:
  • stimulate economic growth
  • encourage economic integration
  • facilitate sub-Saharan African integration into the global economy
AGOA has been the cornerstone of trade relations between United States of America (USA) and Sub Saharan African (SSA) Countries that has enhanced trade, investment, job creation, and democratic institutions throughout Africa
Since its enactment, Congress has amended AGOA 6 times, making some technical changes and renewing the trade preferences through September 30, 2025.
Since inception, substantial changes have been made to the original provision and lifespan of the Act. Key among them being:
    AGOA II signed on 6th August 2002 by President George Bush,
    Acceleration Act 2004 or AGOA III signed on 12th July 2004 by President George Bush in which the preferential access was extended to 30th September, 2015;
    AGOA IV named “The Africa Investment Incentive Act” signed on 20th December, 2006. The 3rd Country Fabric Provision was extended for 7 years: Sept 2005 to Sept 2012.
    On Aug 10, 2012, President Obama extended the third-country fabric provision to September 30, 2015 and added South Sudan
AGOA was reauthorized by the U.S. Congress for a further ten years in June 2015 to 30 Sept 2025

Products added by the AGOA legislation
AGOA provides duty-free market access to the United States for qualifying Sub-Saharan African countries by extending preferences on more than 4,600 products eligible under the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), in addition to a further 1,800 tariff lines added by the AGOA legislation. The legislation also provides duty-free access to all clothing (as well as certain textile) exports from countries that qualify under the Act’s ‘wearing apparel provisions’, subject to the Rules of Origin (RoO).

What is the GSP?
The Enabling Clause officially called the “Decision on Differential and More Favourable Treatment, Reciprocity and Fuller Participation of Developing Countries” was adopted under GATT in 1979 and enables developed members to give differential and more favourable treatment to developing countries. The Enabling Clause is the WTO legal basis for the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
Under the GSP, developed countries offer non-reciprocal preferential treatment (such as zero or low duties on imports) to products originating in developing countries. Preference-giving countries unilaterally determine which countries and which products are included in their schemes.
The Enabling Clause is also the legal basis for regional arrangements among developing countries and for the Global System of Trade Preferences (GSTP), under which a number of developing countries exchange trade concessions among themselves.
For more information kindly follow the below link https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/devel_e/dev_special_differential_provisions_e.htm)

AGOA ACHIEVEMENT
    Trade between U.S. and SSA has more than tripled since enactment of AGOA, U.S. direct investment in SSA has grown almost six fold.
    Petroleum products still account for the largest portion of U.S. imports from Africa under AGOA
    Sectors with sizeable increases during the past 15 years period included vehicles and parts, apparel, and fruits and nuts.

EXPORT MARKETING AND PACKAGING

1.    Requires careful preparation.
2.    A key element entails product and company marketing which provides important publicity about the product to US-based buyers.
•    Packaging
•    Secure shipping
•    Must appeal to buyers
•    product must be marketable in terms of product characteristics, visual elements, quality and price

Exporter readiness
1.    American business Culture
•    Expediency, sense of urgency =Time is money!!
•    Ability to send & receive communications accurately & quickly
•    Punctuality (on time deliveries)
•    Accessibility to providers, beyond regular working hours/day
•    English language required (written & spoken)
•    Save time, get straight to the point
•    Direct and honest communications
•    Commitments must be kept
•    Frequent and regular communication, especially regarding problems
•    Consistency (quality)
•    Value (quality relative to price)
•    Products change, Trends change, Markets change.
•    Once product pricing is established, the same each time, unless stated otherwise.
•    Don’t make a deal you can’t keep.
•    No surprises.
•    Reliability, accuracy (number, time, as per standard or agreement).
•    Regulations are respected or consequences are paid.
•    Contracts are to be honored.
•    Payment of bribes is illegal under US law, even if done overseas. Violators are prosecuted

Approval process for agriculture products
To obtain access to U.S. markets for a fruit, vegetable, plant, or plant product that is not already an approved commodity, you must initiate a commodity import request.
Commodity import request process
1)    Determine if the commodity is an approved commodity or currently undergoing a pest risk analysis
2)    If it is not approved or currently undergoing a pest risk analysis, submit a commodity import request to Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)
3)    APHIS will conduct a pest risk analysis and an environmental review to determine potential pests likely to remain on the commodity upon importation and potential mitigations that may be required to avoid, reduce, or eliminate the risk of pest introduction.
4)    If APHIS determines that the commodity can be safely imported into the United States, APHIS will initiate the regulatory administrative process to seek public comment.
Further reading (APHIS WEBSITE-USDA) http://www.aphis.usda.gov/import_export/plants/plant_imports/process/index.shtml
Irradiation quarantine
The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) approved the use of irradiation as a quarantine treatment for fruits and vegetables in October 2002.
Then, in January 2006, APHIS published another rule approving a minimum generic dose (400 gray) of irradiation for imported fruits and vegetables.
Further reading   
 

The Salient Features Of AGOA's General (Non-Textiles and Apparel) Rules Of Origin Are:
The product must be imported directly from the AGOA-beneficiary country into the United States;
Items must be "growth, product or manufacture" of one or more AGOA-beneficiary countries (these requirements can be met jointly by more than one AGOA beneficiary - this concept is called ‘cumulation of origin’);
Products may incorporate materials sourced from outside countries (i.e. non AGOA-beneficiaries) provided that the sum of the direct cost or value of the materials produced in one or more designated AGOA-beneficiary country(s), plus the "direct costs of processing" undertaken in the AGOA-beneficiary country(s), equal at least 35% of the product's appraised value at the US port of entry;
In addition, a total of up to 15% of the 35% local content value (as appraised at the US port of entry) may consist of US-originating parts and materials. This concept is called “bilateral cumulation of origin”.
Textile and apparel articles qualifying for duty-free treatment include:
•    Apparel assembled in one or more AGOA beneficiary countries from U.S. yarn and fabric;
•    Apparel made of SSA (regional) yarns and fabrics,
•    Apparel made in a designated LDC of third –country yarns and fabrics

AGOA Certificate of Origin
Rules of Origin are a set of criteria used to determine the origin of goods.  The Rules of Origin that govern the issuance of AGOA are known as preferential rules of origin.  They are used for granting tariff preferences to goods originating from beneficiary country.
Companies wishing to export goods under AGOA trade preference regimes shall be registered with the Rules of Origin office of the KRA-Customs Services Department.
A written application on the Exporter’s Registration Form is made to the Commissioner of Customs Services Department.
Certified copies of the following documents shall be attached to the exporter’s application:
•    Certificate of incorporation
•    PIN certificate
•    VAT registration certificate or letter of exemption
•    Export license from HCDA where horticultural produce is involved
On receipt of the application, the Rules of Origin office shall conduct a verification of the exporter’s manufacturing plant to establish whether the export goods meet the origin criteria stipulated under the applicable trade arrangement.  

AGOA textile Certification fee
A uniform fee of two hundred shillings is charged for certification. This shall be paid by the exporter directly into KRA account at the National Bank of Kenya. Issuance of the certification forms: - The exporter shall submit the payment receipt and Form F147 to the ROO staff for issuance of the forms.
(The AGOA certificate shall however be submitted to The Kenya Association of Manufacturers who will verify the entries on the certificate(s) and forward them to KRA for certification and issuance of the export visa)
 For further reading http://www.kra.go.ke/customs/customscertificateoforigin.html


AGOA Resources
•    Official AGOA Site – www.agoa.gov
•    Southern Africa Trade Hub – www.satradehub.org
•    TRALAC AGOA Info - www.agoa.info
•    U.S. Customs – www.cpb.gov
•    U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA) - http://otexa.ita.doc.gov/
•    U.S. Trade Representative – www.ustr.gov
 
 
 
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