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How do I determine if the products I want to export to the United States are eligible for duty-free treatment?

A:

There are three means by which products exported by SSA countries to the United States may be accorded duty-free treatment. The U.S. government has already eliminated the tariff on many imports in general as a result of previously negotiated agreements. In addition, many developing country products enter the United States duty-free under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences program (GSP). Under AGOA, numerous additional products are receiving duty-free treatment from the United States. AGOA added approximately 1,800 tariff line items to the 4,600 items already entering the United States under GSP. 

To determine if your product is eligible for duty-free access to the U.S:

1. Determine the Harmonized System Code (HS Code) of your product

Go to http://www.foreign-trade.com/reference/hscode.cfm and browse the HS categories to locate your product e.g for fresh potatoes click: 06 - 15 Vegetable Products > 0701 Potatoes (under Edible Vegetables) > 070190  Other Potatoes (Fresh or Chilled)

2. Copy the HS Code and search for it on the USITC online Harmonized Tariff Schedule website

Copy the HS Code e.g. 070190 for fresh potatoes in the above example

Go to https://hts.usitc.gov/

Paste the HS Code in the HTS Search box and click search.

Look through the Rates of Duty column to determine the applicable tariff. When you see the following codes in the tariff column you will know it is duty free:

    A (GSP preference - which is duty free)
    D (AGOA eligible product)  
    A+ (Lesser developed beneficiary also duty free)

In this example 0701.90.50 is classified under D and is AGOA eligible.