AGOA Visa Arrangements for Exports

WHAT IS THE PROCESS TO EXPORT TO THE UNITED STATES WITH AGOA VISA?

If a Fashion Designer or a Company (The Exporter) from an AGOA Eligible Country wants to export to the United States of America under the Trade and Development Act of 2000 (AGOA IV), there is a couple of steps that must be followed before by the Authorities and the Exporter Designer. In this example, the imaginary African country of Bengali is eligible to export to the US under AGOA IV.

VISA ARRANGEMENT
BETWEEN BENGALI AND
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES
CONCERNING TEXTILES AND APPAREL ARTICLES CLAIMING
PREFERENTIAL TARIFF TREATMENT UNDER SECTION 112 OF
THE “TRADE AND DEVELOPMENT ACT OF 2000”

A. The Government of Bengali shall issue a visa for each shipment of textiles or apparel articles, regardless of value, as identified in Groupings 1 to 9, and exported to the United States whenever all of the assembly of such articles occurs in Bengali or, if assembly occurs in more than one beneficiary sub-Saharan African country, where sufficient assembly occurs in Bengali to establish the country of origin under Section 334 of the Uruguay Round Agreements Act. The original visa shall be presented to the U.S. Customs Service at the time of entry, or withdrawal from warehouse for consumption, into the customs territory of the United States (the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico) when claiming preferred tariff treatment.

B. A shipment shall be visaed by the stamping of the original circular visa in blue ink only on the front of the original commercial invoice. The original visa shall not be stamped on duplicate copies of the invoice. The original of the invoice with the original visa stamp will be required to enter the shipment into the United States claiming the preferred tariff treatment. Duplicates of the invoice and/or visa may not be used for this purpose.

C. The Ministry of Industry and Trade of Bengali, or its designates, will issue the visa as referred to above. A point of contact and a single location must be established for questions and inquiries. Bengali will provide to the Government of the United States an original, clear, reproducible copy of the visa stamp which shall be the stamp designated for use throughout the entire period the Visa Arrangement is in effect, and signatures of the officials authorized to issue and sign them. Any change to the stamp or change in the authorizing officials must be approved by the Government of the United States prior to instituting the change, to be effective thirty days after approval.

D. Each visa stamp will include the following information:

I. The Visa Number: The visa number shall be in the standard nine digit_letter format beginning with one numeric digit for the designated grouping (1 to 9), followed by the two-character alpha code specified by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), followed by a six-digit numerical serial number identifying the shipment, e.g., 1BG512345. (The alpha code for Bengali is “BG”.)

Grouping 1– Apparel articles assembled in one or more beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries from fabrics wholly formed and cut in the U.S., from yarns wholly formed in the U.S.

Grouping 2– Apparel articles assembled in one or more beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries from fabrics wholly formed and cut in the U.S., from yarns wholly formed in the U.S.. if, after such assembly, the articles would have qualified for entry under subheading 9802.00.80 of the HTSUS but for the fact that the articles were embroidered or subject to stone-washing, enzyme-washing, acid washing, perma-pressing, oven baking, bleaching, garment-dyeing, screen printing, or other similar processes.

Grouping 3 – Apparel articles cut in one or more beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries from fabric wholly formed in the U.S. from yarns wholly formed in the U.S. if such articles are assembled in one or more beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries with thread formed in the U.S.

Grouping 4– Apparel articles wholly assembled in one or more beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries from fabric wholly formed in one or more beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries from yarn originating either in the U.S. or one or more beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries.

Grouping 5– Apparel articles wholly assembled in one or more lesser developed beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries regardless of the country of origin of the fabric used to make such articles.

Grouping 6 – Sweaters in chief weight of cashmere, knit-to-shape in one or more beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries and classifiable under subheading 6110.10 of the HTSUS.

Grouping 7 – Sweaters, 50 percent or more by weight of wool measuring 18.5 microns in diameter or finer, knit-to-shape in one or more beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries.

Grouping 8 – Apparel articles wholly assembled in one or more beneficiary sub-Saharan African countries from fabric or yarn that is not formed in the United States or a beneficiary sub-Saharan African country, to the extent that apparel articles of such fabrics or yarns would be eligible for preferential treatment, without regard to the source of the fabric or yarn, under Annex 401 to the NAFTA.

Grouping 9– Handmade, handloomed, or folklore – to be defined in bilateral consultations.

These groupings are in summary form and they do not include all the requirements. For complete details see Title 1 of the Trade and Development Act of 2000.

II. The Date of Issuance: The date of issuance shall be the day, month and year on which the visa was signed by the government official authorized to sign the visa.

III. The Signature of the Issuing Official: The signature shall be that of the issuing official of Bengali, or his designate.

IV. The correct grouping, the total quantity, and unit of quantity in the shipment shall be provided within the visa stamp, e.g., “grouping 5 – 510 DZ.” Quantities must be stated in whole numbers. Decimals or fractions will not be accepted.

a) In groupings 1 to 8, all apparel will be reported in dozens, except for (1) men’s, boys’, women’s or girls’ suits, which would be reported in number; an (2) panty hose, tights, stockings, socks, other hosiery, gloves, mittens, and mitts, all of which would be reported in dozen pairs.

b) For items reported in dozens, the number shown would be a whole number. If the quantity is less than one half, then it will be rounded down (i.e. 4 dozen and 4 pieces would be 4 dozen); if the quantity is one half or greater then it would be rounded up (i.e. 4 dozen and 6 pieces would be 5 dozen). If the quantity in the grouping is less than 1 dozen, even if it is less than a half dozen, the quantity shown would always be 1 dozen (i.e. 3 pieces or 6 pieces would be 1 dozen). The same method will be used for dozen pairs.

c) If there are items in the same grouping that are mixed like suits (which require number) and shirts (which require dozen), or even shirts and pants (which both require dozen) then a separate quantity will be shown for each of the items (i.e. in grouping 1 should show 105 suits with 10 dozen shirts or 10 dozen shirts and 12 dozen pants).

d) For grouping 9, the quantity shown will be the normal reporting quantity for the type of merchandise (i.e., if rugs or hand loomed fabric, it would be shown in square meters, or if wall hangings, it would be square meters, if apparel it would be as shown in grouping 1 to 8; and finally, if other household furnishings, then it would be shown in kilos.)

E. If the quantity indicated on the visa is less than that of the shipment, only the quantity shown on the visa will be eligible for the preferred tariff treatment.

F. If the quantity indicated on the visa is more than that of the shipment, only the quantity of the shipment will be eligible for the preferred tariff treatment. Any overage can not be applied to any other shipment.

G. The visa will not be accepted and preferred tariff treatment will not be permitted if the visa number, date of issuance, authorized signature, category, quantity and the unit of measure are missing, incorrect, illegible or have been crossed out or altered in any way.

H. The decision on eligibility for preferential treatment is the responsibility of the U.S. Customs Service.

I. If the visa is not acceptable then a new visa must be obtained from Bengali, or its designate, before preferred tariff treatment can be claimed. Waivers are not permitted.

J. If the visaed invoice is deemed invalid, the U.S. Customs Service will not return the original document after entry, but will provide a certified copy of that visaed invoice for use in obtaining a new correct original visaed invoice.

K. The Government of the United States and the Government of Bengali, will cooperate fully to prevent circumvention of this Agreement. Subject to domestic laws, the competent authorities of Bengali will cooperate with the competent authorities of the Government of the United States in ensuring that this Agreement is not circumvented by transshipment, rerouting, false declaration concerning country or place of origin, falsification of official documents or any other means. To this end, the competent authorities of both governments will assist each other:

I. in securing from parties documents, correspondence and reports considered relevant to the investigations;

II. By providing for plant visits and inspections by authorized personnel;

III. By facilitating personal interviews designed to ascertain needed facts.

IV. By requiring the textile/apparel manufacturers to register with Bengali authorities before they begin apparel production and de-register when they close or cease production.

L. Transshipment has occurred when preferential treatment for a textile or apparel article has been claimed on the basis of material false information concerning the country of origin, manufacture, processing, or assembly of the article or any of its components. Bengali agrees to report, on a timely basis, at the request of the United States Customs Service, country of origin information and documentation used by Bengali in implementing its visa system, i.e. documentation such as production records, information relating to the place of production, the number and identification of the types of machinery used in production, the number of workers employed in production, and certification from both the manufacturer and the exporter.

M. Bengali agrees to report, on a timely basis, at the request of the United States Customs Service, on total exports from and imports into that country of any textile or apparel articles, consistent with the manner in which the records are kept by Bengali.

Kenya is one of the ”Best AGOA Students” for Apparel and Textile products. Here is the process they are following for their AGOA Visa.

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