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How To Export Duty-Free From Uganda To The U.S. Under The

African Growth And Opportunity Act (AGOA)
Competitive AGOA Exports From Uganda To USA

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What is AGOA?
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) is a United States Trade Act enacted on May 18, 2000 as
Public Law 106 of the 200th Congress. On June 29, 2015, U.S. President Barack Obama signed the AGOA
Trade Preferences Extension Act 2015 into law, extending the AGOA legislation by a further 10 years, to
2025. The legislation significantly enhances market access to the U.S. for qualifying sub-Saharan African
(SSA) countries. AGOA builds on existing U.S. trade programs by expanding the duty-free benefits previously
available only under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program. GSP is a trade program designed
to promote economic growth in developing countries by providing preferential duty-free entry.

AGOA combined with GSP, provides duty-free access to the U.S. for approximately 7,000 products.

Why this guide?

The USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub supports East African businesses to take advantage of
AGOA. This guide outlines the step-by-step process that Ugandan businesses should take to export to the
U.S. duty-free through AGOA. Exporting can be a challenging process, but it can also be profitable for the
individual or company that manages to do it successfully. Exporters must follow two sets of requirements:

1.) The Ugandan laws and regulations that govern the export process, and
2.) The laws and regulations that govern the destination countrys imports, in this case, the U.S.

Regulations vary according to the product being exported; exporters must research to ensure that their product
meets the necessary requirements for export. Exporters should identify the correct tariff code and its eligibility
for duty free export under AGOA. This status can be established by referring to
products.html and inserting the product name, searching for correct tariff code and confirming its AGOA

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status - denoted by letter D in the special tariff category column. Exporters should familiarize themselves
with US industry standards and product-specific regulations which may require additional documentation and
procedures. This guide assumes that the exporter or potential exporter has already conducted the necessary
market research, and is ready to export. It highlights the process of exporting goods from Uganda to the U.S.
under AGOA, with a focus on the following sectors: textile and apparel, floriculture, home dcor and fashion
accessories, footwear and specialty foods and products, including:
Coffee Fish Casein Vanilla Dried Fruits Shea Butter

A Ugandan AGOA exporter of Shea Butter products.

AGOA Export Requirements

Step 1: Business Registration

The exporting entity must be registered. It is a statutory requirement that every business operating in Uganda
must be registered and/or fully incorporated. This registration is important for businesses and export-related
transactions, and demonstrates credibility and legality of the entity. The business registration process in
Uganda is managed by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB).

The process is as follows:

Make an application for reservation of a name.

Upon payment of the required fee, the suggested name is subjected to a search in the Business Registry
Database. Once the name passes the similarity, defensive, offensive, desirability test then it is reserved.
Reservation is valid for 30 days.

Submit all the documents for business registration with

applications and receipts of payment of necessary fees.
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Information on assessment or payment registration of the required fee is done at the Business Registry, found
at the URSB offices; or, the client may use the self-assessment option on the Uganda Revenue Authority
(URA) web portal. In most cases, this payment for registration is done at the bank. Present the documents
for registration with the receipt, after which you can now obtain a certificate of incorporation/registration
within 16-24 working hours.

Step 2: Prepare And Obtain Export Documents

The following is a list of documents required for export transactions:

Commercial Invoice
Bill of Lading or Airway Bill
Export Packing List
Certificate of Origin or AGOA Certificate of Origin for textile and apparel (visa) (annex)

Commercial Invoice
A commercial invoice is the bill for the products from seller to buyer. It is required for most imports into
the United States. The buyer needs the invoice to prove ownership and arrange payment. It may also be used
for transactions such as goods not intended for further sale, returned products and goods intended only for
temporary import among other purposes.

The invoice must contain the following:

Complete name and address of the buyer or importer, seller or manufacturer and the shipper;
Detailed description of the products with quantities, and the Harmonized System (HS) codes of the goods;
Total value per item;
The country of origin, with reason for export; and
A statement certifying that the invoice is true, and a signature.

Bill of Lading or Airway Bill:

This is a contract between the owner of the products and the carrier. They are two types, namely:

1. A straight bill of lading, which is non-negotiable, and

2. The negotiable/shippers order bill of lading, which can be bought, sold, or traded while
goods are in transit and is used for letter-of-credit transactions. The customer usually needs a copy
of the bill of lading as proof of ownership to take possession of the goods.

Export-Packing List
An export-packing list specifies the material in each individual package and shows the individual net, legal,
tare and gross weights in U.S. and metric values. The packing list is normally attached to the outside of the
package in a clearly marked waterproof envelope. It is a useful document for customs officials who use it to
check consignments at inspection points.

Certificate of Origin

The Certificate of Origin (CoO) is a document indicating the country of origin for products being imported. It
is usually issued by exporting countries, official authorities or by other agencies designated by the governments

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where the products originate from. It is used to ensure that products originating in certain countries get
the preferential treatment to which they are entitled.

It includes information such as contact information for the importer, exporter and producer; the basis for
which preferential treatment is claimed; and a description of the imported merchandise. Importers are
required to have the certificate in their possession at the time of the claim and to provide it to Customs
and Border Protection (CBP) officers upon request.

In Uganda, the AGOA Certificate of Origin for Textiles and Apparel (Visa) issued by the Ministry of
Trade, Industry and Cooperatives. The procedure is as follows:

1. First-time exporters are required to fill in an application/registration form;

2. Present the duly-filled-out form to Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives for assessment;
3. Once the product has been cleared, you will receive a certificate of origin to fill out. This is
done at no cost;
4. Present the filled-out certificate to the designated signatories in the Ministry of Trade, Industry and
Cooperatives for endorsement.

AGOA Certificate of Origin for Textiles and Apparel (Visa)

This is a visa arrangement that establishes documentary procedures for each shipment of AGOA-eligible
textile and apparel products from a designated beneficiary sub-Saharan African country to the U.S.
Normally, the AGOA visa stamp is issued by official authorities designated by the governments where
the products are originating from and is fixed on the commercial invoice. Its main purpose is to avoid
transshipment of products from non-AGOA eligible countries to the U.S.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives is required to verify that the products intended for
export actually originate from Uganda.

Guidelines for AGOA visa application and processing in Uganda are as highlighted below:

1. A firm visits or writes to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives expressing interest in
exporting under AGOA;
2. The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Cooperatives representatives are then required to verify that the
products intended for export do originate from Uganda. To do this, Ministry of Trade, Industry and
Cooperatives representatives conduct firm visits.
3. On confirmation of origin of the products, the exporter is included in the list of exporters and becomes
eligible for an AGOA visa stamp.
4. The exporter is then required to submit three documents (with four copies each) as part of the process
to apply for the AGOA visa. The documents include:
a. An AGOA visa certificate application form;
b. An invoice with details of the exporter, the importer, the product quantities and values;
c. A packing list indicating the specifics of the products to be exported.
5. If the documents are accurately filled, an AGOA visa stamp is issued to the exporter within a period
of three days. Normally it is issued on the same day (24 hours).

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The exporter then ships the products with the certificate and declares it to U.S Customs as duty-free under
the AGOA.

The AGOA visa application process is free.
An AGOA visa is valid for six months.
An AGOA visa is issued for each consignment/invoice.
If an exporter is shipping two different consignments using one invoice, the Ministry of
Trade will issue one AGOA visa.
If an exporter is shipping two different consignments using two different invoices, the
Ministry of Trade will issue two AGOA Visas
If an order or invoice changes, the exporter must apply for a new AGOA visa.

Step 3: Export Logistics

Sending products from one country to another involves many parties. Generally, finished products are
delivered to the U.S. buyers destination. In order to deliver to a U.S. buyers warehouse, or to comply with
certain shipping requirements, large exporters typically have logistics specialists to coordinate and track
shipment. In most cases, exporters rely on international freight forwarders and agencies to perform these
services. Some companies utilize the services of shippers associations. Other companies use express delivery
or mail services. It is also possible for exporters to arrange their own shipping.

In Uganda, most exporters do not carry out the logistics processes on their own; quite often they engage the
services of international freight forwarders to perform these services for them.

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It is also important to note that export logistics may involve knowing the buyers requirements, including
specifications, quality levels, price, place and time of delivery, packaging, labeling, documentation and
insurance requirements as part of a commercial transaction.

Step 4: Declaration to Customs at U.S. Port of Entry

If you are travel to the U.S with goods for sale or other commercial purposes, you must declare them to a
Custom and Border Protection (CBP) officer. On arrival at the port of entry, you must complete the CBP
Declaration Form 6059B. This form provides basic information about who you are and what you are taking
into the United States. This form is normally provided on the plane for passengers to fill out and submit to
CBP staff.

Additional conditions governing the entry of products according to

the United States International Trade webpage:
Cut Flowers
Cut flowers are admissible for importation into the United States. A cut flower includes the severed portion
of a plant, the inflorescence and any attached plant parts, in a fresh state. In addition to the general import
documentation described earlier, Phytosanitary Certificates is required: Phytosanitary Certificates are
documents for specific plants or plant products issued by an official of an exporting country, or country of re-
export, attesting to freedom from pests and admissibility into the destination country. But even when plants
or plant products are accompanied by a Phytosanitary Certificate, the US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP)
regulatory officials will still inspect the importations to confirm admissibility.

Childrens Footwear
The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) enacted in 2008 regulates specific substances in
childrens products, including childrens footwear. The CPSIA sets limits for lead content and phthalates in
childrens products. A childrens product is defined as a consumer product designed or intended primarily
for children 12 years or younger. With respect to childrens footwear, Section 101(a) of the CPSIA restricts
childrens products, including childrens footwear, and components of childrens footwear, to a lead content

CPSIA Mandatory Third-Party Testing requires every manufacturer or importer of all consumer products
that are subject to a consumer product safety rule enforced by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission
is issued with a general certificate of conformity based on testing the product and stating that the product
complies with the applicable standard, regulation, or ban. The certificate must accompany the product and be
furnished to the retailer or distributor. Section 102 also requires the manufacturers or importers of childrens
products (products designed and intended primarily for children 12 years or younger) to certify that the
products comply with all relevant product safety standards by issuing a childrens product certificate supported
by tests performed by a CPSC-accepted third-party testing laboratory that has been accredited.

Food Products
Under provisions of the U.S. law contained in the U.S. Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, importers of
food products intended for introduction into U.S. interstate commerce are responsible for ensuring that the
products are safe, sanitary, and labelled according to U.S. requirements. (All imported food is considered to

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be interstate commerce). Thus, exporters must meet requirements of U.S. food regulations that includes
food facility registration, U.S. import procedures and Prior Notice.

If your buyer is a first-time importer of food products to the US, they may want to contract the services of
a customs broker (entry filer). Customs brokers are the only persons authorized by the tariff laws of the
United States to act as agents for importers in the transaction of their customs business. Customs brokers
are private individuals or firms licensed by CBP to prepare and file the necessary customs entries, arrange
for the payment of duties, take steps to effect the release of the goods in CBP custody, and otherwise
represent their principals in customs matters.

Other Requirements

Textile Product Labels

The Textile Fiber Products Identification Act (TPIA) requires that products have labels. A label is to be
affixed to each textile product and/or its package or container in a secure manner
The label shall be conspicuous and durable enough to remain attached to the product and it package
throughout distribution, sale or resale and until sold and delivered to the ultimate consumer. The label
shall contain the following information:

the generic names and percentages by weight of the constituent fibers in the product
the name under which the manufacturer or other responsible company does business, or in lieu
thereof, the registered identification number (RN number) of such company
The name of the country where the product was processed or manufactured

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Care Labelling

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) enforces the Care Labelling rule, requiring manufacturers and
importers or any person or organization that directs or controls the manufacturing of textile wearing
apparel and pieces goods sold to consumers for making piece goods sold to consumer for wearing apparel
to attach care instructions to garments. Goods exempt from this requirement include shoes, gloves, hats,
handkerchiefs, belts, suspenders, neckties and non-woven garments made of one-time use.

Useful Resources
East Africa Trade and Investment Hub

Ministry of Trade, Industry and Co-operatives

Farmers House 3rd Foor
Plot 6-8 Parliament Avenue
P.o.Box 7103 Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256 414 314226

AGOA Country Response Office

9th Floor, South Wing
Workers House
Tel; +256 414 343222, 343252

Uganda Revenue Authority

Crested Towers 8th Floor
P.o.Box 7279 Kampala, Uganda
Tel: +256 417 440000

Uganda Registration Services Bureau

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Uganda Revenue Authority

Federal Trade Commission- textile label guidelines


US Customs and Border Protection

Tralac Trade Law Centre

United States Consumer Product Safety Commission
United States International Trade Commission - Harmonized Tariff Schedule

Federal Trade Commission - Textile Label Guidelines

Sample Commercial Invoice
Sample Certificate of Origin Form
Sample AGOA Textile Certificate of Origin Form
Sample US Customs Entry Form 7501

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About the USAID East Africa Trade
and Investment Hub
The USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub works to boost trade and investment with and
within East Africa.

The goal of the Hub is to deepen regional integration, increase the competitiveness of select regional
agriculture value chains, promote two-way trade with the U.S. under the African Growth and
Opportunity Act (AGOA) and facilitate investment and technology that drives trade growth intra-
regionally and to global markets.

Our main focus is on the East African Community countries - Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and
Uganda. We also provide AGOA-related support in Ethiopia, Madagascar and Mauritius.

The USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub is a proud component of two U.S. presidential
initiatives, Trade Africa and Feed the Future.


The East Africa Trade and Investment Hub Andrew Kaggwa

Goodman Tower, Westlands. Country Representative - Uganda
P.O. Box 13403 - 00800 The East Africa Trade and Investment Hub
Nairobi, Kenya. T: +256 (0) 722 602 874
T: +254 (0) 787 685 389

@InvestEAfrica AGOA 101 Uganda 19