Ghanaian exporters have been urged to take full advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) and increase exports to the US.
The Chairperson of the American Chamber of Commerce, Ghana, Angela Kyeremanten – Jimoh contends that Ghanaian exporters, particularly SMEs have not utilized fully, the benefits accruing to them under the program.
According to her, the situation persists despite the huge market potential for Ghanaian exporters in the US.
The AGOA is a non-reciprocal trade preference programme that provides duty-free treatment to U.S. imports of certain products from eligible sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries.
Under AGOA, Ghana can export about 6,400 items, including oil, automobile, agricultural raw materials or processed products among others to the United States without restrictions on how much could enter or the need to pay tariffs on such exports.
Angela Kyeremanten – Jimoh made the remarks in an interview with Citi Business News at the sidelines of the American Chamber of Commerce- Ghana’s sensitization workshop on exporting to the US under the AGOA.
“We have learnt that we export yam to the US and pay duties when we are not supposed to do so and the same goes for the cocoa powder that we export the US which shouldn’t be the case under the AGOA programme. Reasons why people are not taking advantage of the program bore down to the paper work that one has to do and also not knowing about it,” she noted.
Angela Kyeremanten – Jimoh however added, “So that is why we have put together the sensitization workshop to help educate people on AGOA. That is to help create the awareness so people will take advantage of AGOA. This is because there are some good hanging fruits and I urge exporters to read about it get to learn about which can help them.”
The AGOA program is also similar to the Generalized System of Preference (GSP), a U.S trade preference program that applies to over 120 developing countries, including Sub Saharan countries.
AGOA however builds on the GSP by providing preferential access to the U.S market for more products, such as apparel and sets out additional eligibility criteria.
AGOA’s authorization however expires in 2025.
The AGOA Extension and Enhancement Act of 2015, was approved by the Senate, awaiting approval by the House of Representatives and the US President.
By: Norvan Acquah – Hayford/citibusinessnews.com/Ghana