AGOA stands for the African Growth and Opportunity Act. This legislation, enacted by the United States in 2000, abolished import duties (when imported to the U.S.) on thousands of products manufactured in any AGOA qualified Sub-Saharan African country. Gabon and Sao Tome qualify and are covered by the AGOA legislation. The United State reviews eligibility on an annual basis.
There is no requirement for a business to register with the United States to benefit from AGOA. Businesses must work with their domestic customs agency or revenue authorities if the country requires a unique exporter authorization number. These are national measures and differ from country to country: it is advisable to contact the customs or revenue authorities in your country to see what registration measures and related formalities may be required. A number of countries have developed an AGOA Utilization Strategy, helping to focus them on better utilizing the benefits provided by AGOA. A dozen such strategies can be downloaded from this site at the following link. Guidelines (in English) on developing an AGOA strategy are available in the following document.
In addition, an accompanying certificate of origin is needed from the exporter to the US, certifying the contents of the shipment and their origin – in other words, a declaration by the exporter that the products in the shipment meet the rules of origin. These certificates have to be provided by the exporter and not the importer – please contact your local customs office or chamber of commerce for assistance with the relevant local rules for obtaining and completing a certificate of origin.
For more information, please go to the AGOA website resources: https://legacy.trade.gov/agoa/
For answers to frequently asked questions, including which products qualify under AGOA and to find links to training videos about the program: https://agoa.info/about-agoa/faq.html