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Do we need to contract a customs agent in the US?

Published on May 18, 2015

Hello Finn - My business partner and I run a fashion and manufacturing business. I am based on the Coast of Kenya running our workshop, my partner is based in NYC running the sales team. I need to export our goods to her in NYC. We have spoken to Kenyan-based freight companies who say that if we pack up our goods and provide commercial invoice and packing list, they can get a form from KRA that states we are duty-free under AGOA. I guess on this side this is clear enough (although if you could explain how an exported qualifies for duty free that would be helpful). When they ship it out, do we need to contract a customs agent in the US who will receive the product for us and process it?

How does it exactly work on the US side?

Thank you!


Thank you for your question.

I am assuming this is an air shipment and not so small that it would go through regular mail/courier. In which case, yes, it would be good to have a clearing agent on the U.S. side. Shipment should include commercial invoice and Certificate of Origin. You didn't mention product but if its textiles/apparel, you should use the Textile Certificate of Origin under AGOA. The form should include the HS code or codes particular to the products you are shipping. Also, If textiles/apparel, it requires an AGOA visa stamp. The stamp is required only for textiles/apparel, not other products. Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) can provide this.

To check if your product(s) are duty-free, consult: under tariff link. Hope this helps.

Please see the following document for more info, and feel free to reach out with questions.