TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Liberia Chamber of Commerce, USAID, conduct AGOA awareness seminar for the public sector

Wednesday, 17 April 2019 Published: | David Yates

Source: Liberian Observer

The Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC) in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID,) West Africa ASSESS Project aimed covering the AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) benefits, product eligibility criteria, documentation and export procedures, and US import requirement for agricultural products.

Participants from several institutions, including the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), National investment Commission (NIC), and the Chamber of Commerce (LCC), SalaMartu Stephanie Duncan forming part of this workshop, with AGOA Specialist with the USAID West Africa ASSESS Project, Mr. Kara Diallo serving as lead facilitator.

The workshop highlighted the broader objective of AGOA, a piece of the United States Legislation that was approved by the US Congress in May 2000 to increase trade between the United States and participating Sub-Saharan African countries.

The law provides duty free-free preferences for thousands of products manufactured and processed throughout the region, Liberia in 2006 signed as a key shareholder in the trade domain.

Addressing participants, Mr. Diallo made specific reference to the importation of textiles in relation to the AGOA textile visa system and related export procedures and rules, which he noted require an AGOA Textile Visa arrangement with the US (in order) to prevent illegal transshipment and the use of counterfeit documentation, as well as effective enforcement and verification procedures.

Apparel articles of chapter 61 and 62 of the HTS (Harmonised Tariff System nomenclature), and textile articles of chapters 50 – 60 and 63 of the HTS, and related special rules for apparel in chapter 98 of US HTS, require a certificate of origin that includes 10 categories and options. 

He said Liberia is among several countries eligible for textiles benefits excluded the Gambia, Niger, Mali and Rwanda, but further noted that these countries have not yet re-applied for their visa arrangement following their reinstatement of AGOA benefits on October 25, 2011 and December 22, 2017 respectively, and said they consequently cannot claim apparel benefits under AGOA.

He told the participants that all products to be exported must as applicable meet international norms (SPS, packaging, labelling, other requirements), should have marketing plans by the respective sector for export to the United States. Other important issues discussed include raising awareness about AGOA and providing information on US market opportunities, facilitation of foreign investment and access to finance for targeted sectors, and solving transversal constraints such as transport and logistics, etc.

The workshop will continue today, April 17, 2019 with the private sector at the same venue.

 

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