10 May 2023, 2pm SAST


Introduction to the African Growth & Opportunity Act (AGOA) and Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)


  • Understand the purpose and requirements for exporters to sell products to the U.S.
  • Identify what products are eligible for tariff-free export to the U.S. and how you can export.
  • Learn tariff benefits available for eligible export goods under AGOA or GSP trade policies.
  • Get to know the U.S. tariff benefits criteria, documentation requirements, and where to go for further assistance.


Main Presenter: Margaret Waithaka

USAID: Mary Gounder

ATP & Foxvest: Warwick Blamey

Host: Emmanuel castis


Q: If you don't fit into the category of products listed/eligible in AGOA, where else can you find lists of duty-free products from South Africa to USA?

The United States gives Customs duty preferences-that is, conditionally free or subject to reduced rates-to certain designated beneficiary developing countries under a trade program called the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Some products that would otherwise be dutiable are not when they are wholly the growth, product, or manufacture of a beneficiary GSP country. Visit the Office of United States Trade Representative website for additional GSP information guidebook here:

Q: Can you please expand on Import Sensitive Categories under AGOA and GSP?

Import sensitive categories of products are classified and stipulated under section 19 U.S. Code § 2463 – Designation of eligible articles amongst others are the following:


(b)Articles that may not be designated as eligible articles

(1)Import-sensitive articles

The President may not designate any article as an eligible article under subsection (a) if such article is within one of the following categories of import-sensitive articles:

(A)Except as provided in paragraphs (4) and (5),[1] textile and apparel articles which were not eligible articles for purposes of this subchapter on January 1, 1994, as this subchapter was in effect on such date.

(B)Watches, except those watches entered after June 30, 1989, that the President specifically determines, after public notice and comment, will not cause material injury to watch or watch band, strap, or bracelet manufacturing and assembly operations in the United States or the United States insular possessions.

(C)Import-sensitive electronic articles.

(D)Import-sensitive steel articles.

(E)Except as provided in paragraph (5),1 footwear, handbags, luggage, flat goods, work gloves, and leather wearing apparel which were not eligible articles for purposes of this subchapter on January 1, 1995, as this subchapter was in effect on such date.

(F)Import-sensitive semi manufactured and manufactured glass products.

(G)Any other articles which the President determines to be import-sensitive in the context of the Generalized System of Preferences.

(2)Articles against which other actions taken

An article shall not be an eligible article for purposes of this subchapter for any period during which such article is the subject of any action proclaimed pursuant to section 2253 of this title or section 1862 or 1981 of this title.


(3)Agricultural products

No quantity of an agricultural product subject to a tariff-rate quota that exceeds the in-quota quantity shall be eligible for duty-free treatment under this subchapter.


(4)Certain hand-knotted or hand-woven carpets

Notwithstanding paragraph (1)(A), the President may designate as an eligible article or articles under subsection (a) carpets or rugs which are hand-loomed, hand-woven, hand-hooked, hand-tufted, or hand-knotted, and classifiable under subheading 5701.10.16, 5701.10.40, 5701.90.10, 5701.90.20, 5702.10.90, 5702.42.20, 5702.49.10, 5702.51.20, 5702.91.30, 5702.92.00, 5702.99.10, 5703.10.00, 5703.20.10, or 5703.30.00 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.


(5) [2] Certain cotton articles

Notwithstanding paragraph (3), the President may designate as an eligible article or articles under subsection (a)(1)(B) only for countries designated as least-developed beneficiary developing countries under section 2462(a)(2) of this title cotton articles classifiable under subheading 5201.00.18, 5201.00.28, 5201.00.38, 5202.99.30, or 5203.00.30 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.


(5) 2 Certain luggage and travel articles

Notwithstanding subparagraph (A) or (E) of paragraph (1), the President may designate the following as eligible articles under subsection (a):

(A)Articles classifiable under subheading 4202.11.00, 4202.12.40, 4202.21.60, 4202.21.90, 4202.22.15, 4202.22.45, 4202.31.60, 4202.32.40, 4202.32.80, 4202.92.15, 4202.92.20, 4202.92.45, or 4202.99.90 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States.

(B)Articles classifiable under statistical reporting number 4202.12.2020, 4202.12.2050, 4202.12.8030, 4202.12.8070, 4202.22.8050, 4202.32.9550, 4202.32.9560, 4202.91.0030, 4202.91.0090, 4202.92.3020, 4202.92.3031, 4202.92.3091, 4202.92.9026, or 4202.92.9060 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States, as such statistical reporting numbers are in effect on June 29, 2015.

Q: Are there incentives and funds to assist start-ups to process frozen fruits to export the US market?

Yes, there are various opportunities that can be taken advantage under the USAID Africa Trade and Investment Program. The USAID Africa Trade and Investment program is designed to bolster the U.S. Government’s ability to boost trade and investment to, from, and within the African continent. The program allows USAID to work closely with the private sector to shape activities that unlock business opportunities, particularly those that drive trade and investment into and out of African markets. Through a range of services that advance Prosper Africa and beyond, including:


  • Market intelligence, assessments, and feasibility studies;
  • Market linkages and trade services;
  • Fund and financial instrument design and structuring;
  • Financial advisory services;
  • Capacity building services;
  • Policy and regulatory services

The capacity building services program can be used to access funds for the value added products including the frozen fruits provided the eligibility criteria and FDA requirements are met.

Please see the following links:

Q: Is there any looming negative impact of BRICS on USA trade from SA?

There is growing pressure from the west on the South African government because of its close relationship with Russia. South Africa is being forced to arrest Putin if he sets foot on South African soil for the BRICS summit, since the International Criminal Court has issued an arrest warrant for the Russian President for war crimes in Ukraine. President Cyril Ramaphosa recently is said to be sending an envoy to the US to discuss its relationship with Russia. The South African government is concerned about losing the benefits of its inclusion in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Yes, there are various conversations going on in terms of the US considering to suspend the AGOA opportunities benefits of South Africa due to South Africa’s association with Russia and that could cost Africa about 56% of her imports to the US as that is the percentage South Africa contributes to exports from Africa to the US under AGOA.

Q: Is there anything to be done, as to better understand the function of ATI, AGOA to allow small farmers to get access to export to US?

Yes, information dissermanination on these programs are largely available on various platforms, such as:

Q: We are informed that there are some states like the State of Delaware where an African Town Initiative is on the cards. The question is are we able to export African Food products such as Fruits, Curios, Cereals, grains and legumes, and flowers under the AGOA act?

Yes, AGOA makes provision for various commodities which include all of the above. Please see act here:  and

Visit our AGOA page here:

Q: Is it possible for AGOA to partner with Procurement and supply chain consultants/entities in Zambia to secure commodity for export to the USA?

Yes, but it is dependent on various factors, primarily should be within the scope of stipulated provisions of services in the following categories:


  • Market intelligence, assessments, and feasibility studies;
  • Market linkages and trade services;
  • Fund and financial instrument design and structuring;
  • Financial advisory services;
  • Capacity building services;
  • Policy and regulatory services


Also see key compliance requirements of AGOA on eligibility of countries and code of ethics conducts. Please see link for more information on requirements and compliance:


Q: I am a saffron Farmer in Lesotho, I would like to know if it is a must for us to export to the USA in tones or is it okay to export starting with few kilograms of saffron, 50kg and above?

Saffron is highly regulated in the US, hence the quantities do not really matter much but rather the requirements. Below are some of the high level regulations and Requirements:

  1. When importing saffron to the United States there are certain actions required by the FDA. First, importers need to register processing and storage facilities in their country of origin and in the United States with the government agency. Any location in which the saffron is being shipped must be registered. The following information is required when registering a facility:


Name, address, and telephone number of the foreign facility

Name, address, and telephone number of the facilities owner

Trade names

Name, address, and telephone number of the U.S. agent

Activity carried out at the facility (storage, labeling, packing, etc.)

Food product category

  1. The second requirement by the FDA is that there must be prior notice of the imported good. According to the Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, or Bioterrorism Act, the FDA must take steps to protect the citizens from a threatened or actual terrorist attack on the U.S. food supply. This act dictates that the FDA to be given prior notice all food that will be imported into the U.S. They work with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP) to collect advance notice of import shipments. This allows them to target import inspections more effectively.

See the following links for clarity:



  1. Additionally, in 2011 the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act was signed which shifted focus from response to prevention. Now importers filing prior notice must also include any country in which the food product has been denied entry. There are two ways to submit prior notice of imported goods. First, you can do it through the CBP’s Automated Broker Interface of the Automated Commercial Environment or through the FDA’s Prior Notice System Interface (PNSI). Both systems are online and easy to access. Below are examples of information required when submitting prior notice:


Name and address of both shipper and importer

Identity of product, quantity, and lot number

Country of production and shipment

Shipment information such as carrier, arrival time, and more.


  1. Finally, when importing saffron or selling it in any capacity in the United States, the product must be properly labeled. Labeling requirements for spices including saffron are described in CFR 101.22. The name, quality classification, and net weight of the product must be shown on the packaging. The name, address, and telephone number of the importer must be shown as well as the lot number to identify source. Moreover, since saffron is such an applicable spice it’s’ usage must be stated. For example, if saffron is being used as a coloring agent it must be properly labeled as such on the product.

Please the following link on CFR 101.22.


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