Skip to Content

Ask the Ambassador: African Imports

We recently received a question about importing specific goods from Africa.  Willie from Georgia writes:

"Hello Mr. Kirk, My question is that I would like to purchase organic personal care products from Africa. Would organic personal care products qualify for any of the duty free or reduced rate programs? If so what would I have to do in order to receive the duty free or reduce rate when I order products from suppliers?"

Ambassador Kirk's response:

"Willie,

It is very likely that the products that you would be importing are eligible for duty-free treatment under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) from participating countries.  Under AGOA, over 98 percent of all imports from sub-Saharan Africa are eligible to enter the United States duty-free, but coverage varies by product and country.  I suggest you consult the AGOA website: www.agoa.gov where you can find more information about the products you wish to import.  You can even search by keyword to determine the AGOA-eligibility of a specific product.

AGOA provides duty-free import of goods made in eligible sub-Saharan African countries.  AGOA has enhanced the U.S.-sub-Saharan Africa trade and investment relationship by spawning jobs, investment, and economic growth in Africa, and helped to diversify our trade with the continent, including increasing amounts of jewelry, fruits and nuts, fruit juices, leather products, plastic products, and processed cocoa products.

Importantly, AGOA has also helped spark opportunities for U.S. businesses.  Africans are seeking U.S. inputs, expertise, and joint venture partnerships, resulting in increased U.S. exports and investment.   Forty sub-Saharan African countries are currently eligible for AGOA."

Thank you for continuing our dialogue on trade. Please keep submitting your questions and comments for the Ambassador.