TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

AGOA and GSP exports to the United States

A significant share of AGOA beneficiary countries' exported goods to the United States qualify for duty-free access under AGOA; many of these exports are in tariff headings that did not previously qualify for GSP access (GSP goods are also eligible under AGOA, but AGOA has added hundreds of additional tariff lines). Of the remaining trade - which does not fall under AGOA - most enjoys duty-free status by virtue of general US tariff policy with respect to imports from WTO Member States (duty-free under so called most-favoured-nation principles), while the rest is subject to standard US import tariffs (for example, either due to them being generally dutiable, or because a country is not a WTO member).

Traditionally the single largest contribution towards AGOA-eligible trade comprised oil exports mainly from Angola and Nigeria, and to a lesser extent Chad and the Republic of Congo. In recent years, this share has declined significantly. South Africa, Kenya, Ethiopia, Lesotho, Ghana and Madagascar are among the leading non-oil AGOA exporters. South Africa's exports in particular are relatively diversified across both extractive as well as manufacturing sectors, while for countries such as Kenya, Ethiopia and Madagascar. the apparels sector dominates. 

In 2017, eleven AGOA beneficiary countries each exported more than $100 million worth of qualifying goods under AGOA/GSP to the United States. A further seven countries each exported more than $10 million in AGOA goods in the same year.

The attached data tables (see links in grey boxes alongside) provide details of AGOA beneficiary countries’ aggregate and AGOA exports to the United States over the past three years. The AGOA portion combines trade in categories that qualifies for GSP preferences along with the ‘New AGOA’ product categories - being those that only received duty-free status under AGOA. AGOA in effect also covers the GSP products particularly when the US GSP expires, as happens from time to time. 

AGOA preferences apply to approximately 6,500 tariff lines (at the HS8-digit level). This includes around 5,000 tariff lines covered by the United States Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) - currently extended through to end December 2020) plus a further approximately 1,500 tariff line items covered by the AGOA legislation. Apparel and textile sector tariff lines qualify once beneficiary countries have met the AGOA “apparel visa” requirements.