Liberia Chamber of Commerce (LCC) in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID,) West Africa ASSESS Project this week commenced series of workshops with private and public sectors furthering the AGOA (African Growth and Opportunity Act) quest for benefits, product eligibility criteria, documentation and export procedures, and US import requirement for agricultural products abroad.
Participants from several institutions including the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI), the Liberia Revenue Authority (LRA), National investment Commission (NIC), and the Liberia Chamber of Commerce headed by its Secretary General, Ms. 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 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 making specific reference of the importation of textile abroad explained that the Textile Visa System and Export procedures and rules which he noted require an AGOA Textile Visa arrangement with U.S. to prevent illegal transshipment and use of counterfeit documentation, as well as effective enforcement and verification procedures.
The covering of apparel articles in chapter 61 and 62 of HTS and textile articles in chapters 50 – 60 and 63 of HTS, and Special rules for apparel in the chapter 98 of US HTS, also Apparel requires a Certificate of Origin that includes 10 categories.
He said Liberia is amongst several countries eligible for textiles benefits excluded the Gambia, Niger, Mali and Rwanda, and further noted that these countries have not yet reapplied for their visa arrangement following their reinstatement of AGOA benefits on October 25, 2011 and December 22, 2017, and said they cannot claim apparel benefits under AGOA.
He told the participants that all products to be exported must meet international norms (SPS, packaging, labeling, other requirements), development of marketing plans by sector for export to the United States, raising awareness on AGOA and providing information on US market opportunities, facilitation of foreign investment and access to finance for targeted sectors, and solve transversal constraints such as transport and logistics, etc. The workshop will continue on April 17, 2019 with the private sector at the same venue.