The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is an initiative by the United States which permits over 6400 different products to be exported from sub-Saharan African countries to the American market at duty free rates. Yes over 6000 different products are admissible under this initiative and products like textiles(African wear), wood carvings or artifacts ,agro products etc can be exported free of duty to the U.S. provided certain conditions and requirements are meet.
Ghana and for that matter most African countries are however yet to fully take advantage of this initiative and one major challenge has been the lack of information about the scheme. Ghanashippingguide (GSG) has therefore taken up an initiative to publish a series of articles to help serve as guide for any person to learn how to take advantage of this laudable initiative. The following are some of the important things to note when planning to export goods under the AGOA initiative.
Also Read Ghana yet to take full advantage of AGOA
- The manufacturer or the exporter must first be a natural or legal resident and doing business in the beneficiary country and for that matter Ghana. It is also very important that this person has a license as a manufacturer from the customs in Ghana.
- Also , goods that are produced or manufactured for export should be admissible or accepted under the AGOA scheme. There are currently more than 6000 different range of products accepted under the scheme. It is however very important that goods are appropriately packaged in order to be accepted and do well in the already competitive American market.
- The origin of the goods is very crucial as it must be from a beneficiary country and as such the exporter must prove the country of origin by completing and signing a certificate of origin in form C.71. The certificate which would be certified by the appropriate authority or the body empowered to issue it should expressly confirm that goods originate from Ghana or a beneficiary country.
- In addition, for a ‘VISA STAMP’ to be imprinted on the certificate of origin, it should be submitted together with all shipping documents as well as commercial invoice to customs for a VISA to be issued.
- Lastly, it is important to use the appropriate means of transport acceptable under the AGOA initiative to enter goods for export into the U.S. In this regards it is very important to show evidence that, the means of transport used is permissible under the initiative. The following must therefore be provided
- A through Bill of Lading
- A certificate issued by the customs or other government agencies of the transit country
- And/or any other document deemed sufficient.
Please note that there may be other products requirements and product specifications, but the above points are very important in your success with AGOA.
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