Ivoirians and Ghanaians learn AGOA customs procedures

In the first session of the November 2 workshops, participants learned U.S customs law regarding goods classification, valuation and country of origin as well as admissibility, entry, and assessment of duties. Photo credit: Ms. Jessie Lafourcade, Trade Hub.

Three information sessions taught by Trade Hub experts in Abidjan and Accra shared procedural and strategic trade insights with over 100 stakeholders from various value chains, governmental departments, and trade support institutions Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire and in Accra, Ghana. The events on November 2 and 7 delved into standard operating procedures for the U.S. African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), export requirements, and U.S. market challenges.

Mr. Kaladji Fadiga, Director of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Commerce in Côte d’Ivoire, opened the first training. “This workshop is timely because we have just launched our AGOA National Strategy and the next steps are now implementation” he stated.

Ms. Jan Forest,  a U.S. Customs Lawyer, trained 60 Ivoirians at the first session, including representatives from the Ministries of Commerce, Industry, and Agriculture; the Customs Administration; the National Council on Export; and institutions including the Confédération Générale des Entreprises de Côte d’Ivoire (CGECI) and the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Côte d’Ivoire (CCI-CI).

Ms. Forest walked participants through several trade topics: U.S customs law on goods classification, valuation, and country of origin; admissibility; entry; and duty assessment.

“Admissibility comes into place particularly with agricultural products,” she said. “The exporter needs a license from U.S. agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration.”

She also discussed textile export procedures under AGOA, textile visas, certificates of origin, protocols for classifying goods under the U.S. Harmonized Tariff Schedule, and guidelines for determining the eligibility of goods under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the AGOA.

Mr. Kara Diallo, the Trade Hub’s AGOA Specialist, further outlined AGOA eligibility criteria for countries and products, duty-free advantages, rules of origin, and export statistics. He said the country should support Ivoirian products, such as canned tuna, natural honey, cosmetics, and handicrafts—all of which are AGOA-eligible—under its new strategy.

The day’s second workshop, addressing many of the same topics, attracted approximately 36 people producing apparel, shea, cassava, honey, kola, moringa, and handicrafts; freight forwarding companies; and the Chamber of Commerce. Participants raised questions about AGOA’s 35 percent duty waiver for apparel and third-country fabric requirements.

Some exporters, including Mrs. Ali Keita of Karité Afrique and Mrs. Mamadou Sylla of WAN NAIRA, shared their U.S. market experiences and the constraints they face in Côte d’Ivoire.

Ms. Forest’s additional November 7 training taught nine officers of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority—primarily stationed at the export seats of customs—about customs law, exporting under AGOA, and special rules for apparel, textiles and agricultural products.

Ms. Forest poses for a photo with Officers Ayesu Appiah (left) and Felicia Maamle, (right) who are stationed at the seat of export at the Kotoka International Airport in Accra. Photo credit: Ms. Yvette Kuwornu, Trade Hub.

West Africa Trade and Investment Hub - Accra, Ghana - contact@watradehub.com
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