What constitutes an "effective visa system" with respect to SSA apparel exports to the United States?


An effective visa system is a government-private sector process that demonstrates that the items for which AGOA benefits are claimed were actually produced in a beneficiary country or countries in accordance with the required rules of origin. The U.S. government has advised SSA countries on what the visa system should entail. This includes that each shipment be covered by an original visa stamped on an original invoice. The visa needs to contain certain information such as the date of the visa, the quantity of goods that are shipped and a country code. 
In addition to extending AGOA and the third country fabric benefits, what are the some of the additional provisions of the AGOA Acceleration Act of 2004?

  • Expands definition of "folklore" products to include ethnic printed fabrics that are made on machines to qualify for duty-free treatment.
  • Allows the use of third country collars and cuffs, drawstrings, shoulder pads or other padding, waistbands, belts attached to the article, straps containing elastic, or elbow patches to articles that meet the requirements for preferential treatment.
  • Extends duty free benefits retroactively from October 1, 2000 to knit-to-shape apparel in AGOA eligible countries that was previously disqualified. Importers must file their requests for refunds with the U.S. Bureau of Customs and Border Protection at the port of entry within 90 days from the enactment of the legislation (July 13, 2004). Retroactive AGOA visas and certificates of origin must be filed with the request.
  • Directs the President to develop policies to support infrastructure development in ecotourism, roads, railways, ports, energy, telecommunications and agriculture processing. In addition, the President must submit a report to Congress, no later than one year from the enactment of this Act, that highlights the sectors of each eligible sub-Saharan African country's economy that show the greatest potential for growth, identifies any barriers that exist, and makes recommendations on how the United States can provide technical assistance to remove these barriers and increase opportunities for U.S. investors, businesses, and farmers.


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