The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has re-introduced the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Visa Stamp to exporters to ensure that they participate and benefit more from the Act before it expires in 2025.

AGOA is an act of parliament passed by the United States Congress in 2000. Also referred to as Trade and Development Act, it was meant to assist the economies of sub-Saharan Africa and improve economic relations between the U.S and the region.

AGOA is currently in act until 2025. After completion of the initial 15-year period it was extended by one more decennium, including newly added products. The products newly covered by the legislation include items such as:

  • Agricultural products
  • Apparel and footwear
  • Motor vehicle components
  • Chemicals
  • Wine
  • Steel

So why is this act interesting for you as exporter? AGOA provides Nigerian exporters with numerous attractive advantages in doing international business:

  • Duty-free access for eligible products to USA
  • Significant competitive tariff advantages over non-AGOA countries
  • Encouragement of regional integration and production sharing among beneficiary countries
  • Security of the act ensured until 2025

To be duty-free eligible under AGOA, US customs requires a certificate of origin and an AGOA stamp on a commercial invoice. These documents are needed in addition to the always required documentation for imports. You cannot apply for AGOA certification in the US. It must be done by yourself in Nigeria.

If you want to benefit from AGOA, contact the regional NEPC-office in Lagos via, email lagos@nepc.gov.ng  or e.bolanle@nepc.gov.ng.

Speaking at the NEPC workshop on AGOA Visa Stamp utilisation in Lagos, the agency’s Executive Director, Mr. Olusegun  Awolowo, said AGOA was also meant to forge stronger commercial ties between Nigeria as well as other qualified African countries and the United States.

Represented by the Deputy Director, National Office on Trade, Mr. Saave Nanakaan, Awolowo said AGOA was meant to help integrate Nigeria and other African counties into the global economy.

 

He said the extension of the scheme to 2025 was because many African economies such as Rwanda and Uganda performed better than Nigeria under the scheme.

Visa Stamp, which was introduced on January 18, 2016, took effect from February 8 of the same year. It was another step to further simplify U.S market access of textiles and garments from AGOA-eligible countries.

Under the process, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has directed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to permit importers to submit electronic images of appropriate export visas when claiming preferential treatment for textile and apparel products under the Act.

Textile and apparel goods from an AGOA beneficiary country will only receive preferential duty treatment once a visa arrangement is established. Visas are issued by the government of beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries.

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