In 2015, Togo exported $14,211,000 worth of goods to the U.S. Only about 10 percent—$146,000—were exported under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the U.S. African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA), which waives duties on thousands of goods from eligible African countries.
“In the same year, some AGOA-eligible products—including handbags, baskets and vegetables—were not exported under the preferential trade agreement, resulting in the country losing $365,000 in import duty,” the Trade Hub AGOA Specialist Kara Diallo told participants at the U.S.-Togo Business Forum in the capital, Lomé.
The June 28 forum, entitled “AGOA and trade between Togo and the U.S.”, attracted more than 30 participants, including eight Ministers among whom were the Minister of Trade, Private Sector Promotion and Tourism, Mrs. Bernadette Legzim-Balouki, who is the country’s AGOA focal point. Other participants included members of the business community, exporters and officials of the U.S. Embassy in Togo.
Togo has valuable phosphate deposits and a well-developed export sector based on agricultural products such as AGOA-eligible coffee, cocoa, and peanuts, which together generate roughly 30% of export earnings.
Mr. Diallo explained AGOA’s objectives and advantages as well as rules of origin and eligible products to participants, urging them to take advantage of the program.
“AGOA ends in 2025,” Mr. Diallo concluded. “There are still eight years more for you to benefit from the program.”