To help Niger and Mali regain duty-free benefits for textile exports to the U.S., the Trade Hub worked with authorities in those countries in mid-October to prepare documents for the reapplication.
The U.S. terminated Niger and Mali’s trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in 2010 and 2013 respectively. Niger was reinstated to the preferential trade agreement benefits in 2011 and Mali in 2014—but without benefits for textiles, which enjoy some of largest duty savings of any products.
“When a country loses its AGOA eligibility, and is reinstated, the country does not automatically regain the AGOA textile benefits,” said Mr. Kara Diallo, the Hub’s AGOA Specialist. “And this is the case with Niger and Mali, who are required to reapply and be recertified to be able to enjoy the AGOA textile benefits.”
During the AGOA Forum in Togo in August 2017, authorities of the two countries approached the Trade Hub and requested technical assistance and other support for the reapplication process with the U.S. Trade Representative.
From October 9-18, Mr. Diallo travelled to Bamako, Mali and Niamey, Niger to explain the reapplication process to export promotion agencies and customs, ministries in charge of commerce and trade, chambers of commerce, and U.S. government officials. He collected documents like the decree and the order establishing the AGOA visa system and the visa stamp and prepared a draft visa arrangement as well as a draft transmittal letter to send to the Malian and Nigerien ministries of commerce for comments and possible amendment. He also advised the authorities to update the list of signatories authorized to issue the visa stamp.
While in Niger and Mali, Mr. Diallo also explained the AGOA standard operating procedures to customs and presented copies of the two Trade Hub publications: the AGOA Standard Operating Procedures manual and the AGOA ABCs Guide.