The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) has re-introduced the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) Visa Stamp to exporters to ensure that they participate and benefit more from the Act before it expires in 2025.
AGOA is an act of parliament passed by the United States Congress in 2000. Also referred to as Trade and Development Act, it was meant to assist the economies of sub-Saharan Africa and improve economic relations between the U.S and the region.
Speaking at the NEPC workshop on AGOA Visa Stamp utilisation in Lagos, the agency’s Executive Director, Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, said AGOA was also meant to forge stronger commercial ties between Nigeria as well as other qualified African countries and the United States.
Represented by the Deputy Director, National Office on Trade, Mr. Saave Nanakaan, Awolowo said AGOA was meant to help integrate Nigeria and other African counties into the global economy.
He said the extension of the scheme to 2025 was because many African economies such as Rwanda and Uganda performed better than Nigeria under the scheme.
Visa Stamp, which was introduced on January 18, 2016, took effect from February 8 of the same year. It was another step to further simplify U.S market access of textiles and garments from AGOA-eligible countries.
Under the process, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative has directed U.S. Customs and Border Protection to permit importers to submit electronic images of appropriate export visas when claiming preferential treatment for textile and apparel products under the Act.
Textile and apparel goods from an AGOA beneficiary country will only receive preferential duty treatment once a visa arrangement is established. Visas are issued by the government of beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries.