Entering the Export Market: What you should know About Trade Missions


Trade missions are an important indicator of expansion. They are crucial for creative businesses within Africa willing to enter new markets, mainly to facilitate, streamline and optimize the process that must be followed to export to many countries.

How do Trade Missions Work?

Trade missions are pre-arranged working trips that are conducted by organizations, to serve the interest of exporters.

A trade mission brings together suppliers and potential customers in one place for a few days of intensive meet-and-greets and matchmaking.

Generally organized by governments, in conjunction with trade groups, trade missions allow a lot of business to be done within a short period.

Why go on Trade Missions?

The trade mission allows you to gain better market intelligence to expand your markets.

In terms of marketing, a well-organized and properly lead trade mission is a great leveraging tool.

What do Trade Missions offer?

A well-organized trade mission provides expert service and assistance to include the following activities:

  • Qualify potential customers pertinent to your company’s product.
  • Identify potential representation partners.
  • Provide contact with government and public officials.
  • Offer translation as needed.
  •  Arrange logistics, including local transportation, accommodations, appointments, and meeting facilities.

How do you get the most out of Trade Missions?

TradeMission Meetings

First, clearly define your expectations for participating on the trip. (Be sure to write specific, simple and quantifiable objectives).

The second most important criterion to get the most out of a trade mission is to provide your mission leader with a one-page profile. This should be sent as far in advance as possible. One page is preferred as it can be faxed, emailed and handed out in pre-mission recruiting activity.

What should your profile contain?

The first item of your profile should clearly state a one-paragraph description of your company.

Second on the list should be a paragraph explaining, in lay terminology, your product or service.

Next, you should include an explanation of the type of company and person you need to meet with.

The fourth item to include is a brief list of your most important expectations.

This one-page profile makes it easier for the mission leader to understand how to best help you.
It will also be a constant reminder to keep you focused and on track before and during your mission.


In summary, a well-organized and clearly defined trade mission can be one of your best marketing and sales tools to help you grow your creative business internationally.

Did you enjoy reading this? I’d love to hear what you think.

NEPC restores AGOA visa stamp to exporters

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 [email protected]  or [email protected].

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.

Trade With Africa Summit 2019 Takes Chicago

I was going through my Instagram feed one weekend, when I saw a post that said and I quote ”The world is getting everything it wants from Africa. Is Africa getting everything it wants from the world?” this caught my attention and got me thinking a whole lot, trying to figure out the best way for African businesses to really thrive and enjoy the full potential of all that we offer to the world. I decided to find out who put up that post, at least to understand the reason behind it, that’s when I found out abut the Trade With Africa Summit coming up on the 1st and 2nd of August 2019 in Chicago. This event is powered by Nazaru, a cargo and freight company founded by Toyin Umesiri.

The Trade with Africa Business Summit creates trade linkages by bringing together business leaders and their supporting service providers from Africa and U.S. to engage in dialogue that will catalyze economic growth for both region.

Over the past 20 years, European, Asian and other large economies have established an increasingly heavy presence on the continent of Africa in all major sectors, including Agriculture, Technology and Infrastructure building. They succeeded in this by not only establishing strong partnerships with the African Government but also with the Africa’s business community.

In 2000 President Clinton established the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to help close U.S. trade gaps with Africa. Although some level of success has been accomplished, trade experts, conclude that there is more room to grow. On the U.S. side there are several trade constraints, including lack of awareness, relevant business data, capacity misconceptions and an information gap. On the African side there is also a lack of information related to U.S. standards, available business partnerships and opportunities for African businesses.

You should definitely plan to attend this year’s edition of the Trade With Africa Summit, if you fall under any of the categories below, or are looking for an opportunity to connect  and network with;

  •  Investors
  • Global Business Leaders
  • Trade experts (export & import)
  • U.S. Government Agencies
  • Policy Makers (U.S. & African)
  • Buyers
  • Technologists & Innovators
  • Service providers with Trade Solutions (i.e. Packaging, Shipping, Transportation, Logistics, Banking e.t.c)
  • Exhibitors with products and or services
  • African Diaspora Community
  • Non-profits and friends of Africa

The benefits of this engagement are multi-fold; For the U.S. based business community it serves to showcase the vast opportunities in Africa while highlighting new regions for exports and imports under favorable trade policies,. It also provides the unique opportunity to discuss with high-level officials current concerns or impediments to doing business. For African Exporters, business leaders and Governments leaders, it will offer an opportunity to promote their country, help expand their offerings under Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to create jobs, and increase investment. For African businesses, it will also provide access to the largest importers, help prepare them to pitch their goods, and open a pipeline that can then be continued through sustainable business partnerships.

I believe that the growth potential for African businesses is huge, and it is time for us to take charge and bridge this gap. Click here for more details of the event.


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