Signed into law as Title 1 of the USA Trade and Development Act of 2000 by then former President Bill Clinton, the act provides duty-free export incentives for a period of eight years. Originally, intended to expire in 2008, the act has been extend in some instances to 2012 and in other instances to 2015. Thirty five sub-Saharan African countries have been declared as eligible to receive the benefits under AGOA (see list of countries and eligibility criteria at

AGOA offers specific incentives for apparel exports, but TRALAC suggests that it is a misconception that this is the only real benefit for participating countries. The scope of tariff line items under AGOA is much wider than just apparel products and includes items such as footwear, luggage, handbags, watches, flatware, fresh and processed produce, etc.

The provisions for apparel exports fall into two main categories in South Africa’s case:

  • Unlimited duty-free and quota-free access to the US market for apparel made in eligible sub-Saharan countries from US fabric, yarn and thread.
  • A cap of 1,5% of overall US apparel imports, growing to 3,5% over an 8 year period, for apparel made from African manufactured fabric and yarn.

Source: Adapted from TRALAC

More information about AGOA