Recently, the trade ministry in collaboration with the USAID Trade Hub organised the African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) Capacity Building Workshops. The workshops were conducted in two parts - 8 June and 15 June 2022 succesfully, at Droombos Country Lodge in Windhoek.
Notable speakers at both events were Sikongo Haihambo, executive director in the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade who delivered the opening remarks. Stephanie Reed, acting deputy chief of mission and political-economic-commercial chief at the US embassy in Namibia delivered keynote statements.
Jointly, the events were conducted in a hybrid format attended by the Namibian business community, exporting companies and government officials. The purpose of the events was predominantly aimed at providing an overview on the AGOA key principles, export opportunities and relevant information on the requirements to successful export to the US market.
AGOA is a non-reciprocal unilateral trade arrangement signed into law in the year 2000 by the United States of America, providing sub-Sahara African countries duty and quota free market access on the eligible products into the USA market. AGOA transition has been amended six times over the course of its 20-year existence. After completing its initial 15-year period of validity, AGOA was extended in 2015 by an additional 10 years and now has a further extension lead until September 2025.
In order to take advantage of the AGOA extension with the assistance of the USAID Trade Hub, Namibia launched the AGOA Utilisation Strategy and Action Plan on 10 May 2021, with the purpose to enable the country to improve and increase exports to the USA. The trade ministry, being the lead institution in facilitating the implementation of AGOA activities, has facilitated the AGOA National Steering Committee comprising membership from private and public sectors to implement the AGOA Utilisation Strategy and Action Plan for Namibia.
The first leg of the workshop, held on 8 June 2022, provided participants with relevant information on the overview of market entry requirements for AGOA, discussions pretty much focused more on the Food and Drug Administration Act with regard to compliance, food safety and standards. Participants got more insight of the relevant information on export necessities and compliance of entry necessities into the USA.
The second leg of the workshop, held on 15 June 2022, provided participants with appropriate facts on export procedures into the USA, through the dual expositions made by Namibian customs experts and US Customs and Border Protection officers at the events. These two-fold pertinent presentations provided participants with relevant information on Namibia customs and documentations when preparing and sending a shipment to the United States as well parallel information provided by the US counterpart on Customs and Border Protection. The latter highlighted expectations to fulfil the requirements needed when exporting to the United States.
During the second leg of the workshop, participants developed a roadmap for 2022/2023 on the activities to assist the AGOA National Steering Committee to continue implementing the AGOA Utilisation Strategy. Both hybrid events were considered successful in terms of attendance, participation, presentations, participants’ contributions and meaningful exposure.