Step 1: Business Registration

  1. Business Formation: Start by establishing a legal business entity in Uganda. You can choose to register as a local company limited by shares or guarantee, or if you are a foreign company, you need to register to do business in Uganda.
  2. Register with Uganda Registration Services Bureau: Complete the necessary registration forms and submit them to the Uganda Registration Services Bureau. For local companies, this includes documents like Companies Registration Form (s.18) and Memorandum and Articles of Association. Foreign companies must submit certified copies of their foreign registration documents.
  3. Pay Registration Fees: Pay the required registration fees and stamp duty as stipulated by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau.
  4. Receive Certificate of Incorporation: Upon successful registration, you will receive a certificate of incorporation within two working days.
  5. Complete Company Returns: After registration, ensure that you fulfill ongoing compliance requirements, including submitting forms like Form 20 (particulars of directors and secretaries), Form 18 (notice of situation of registered office and postal address), Form 10 (return of allotment), and annual returns if applicable.

Step 2: Prepare and Obtain Export Documents

  1. Understand AGOA Eligibility: Before exporting under AGOA, ensure your products or goods fall under eligible categories. AGOA covers various sectors, including textiles, apparel, agriculture, and more.
  2. Commercial Invoice: Create a detailed commercial invoice for your products, including complete names and addresses of the buyer, seller, and manufacturer, a description of the products with quantities and Harmonized System (HS) codes, total value per item, country of origin, and a certification statement.
  3. Bill of Lading or Airway Bill: Obtain a bill of lading or airway bill, depending on your mode of transportation. Ensure you have a copy as proof of ownership for your goods.
  4. Export Packing List: Prepare an export packing list that specifies the materials in individual packages, along with their net, legal, tare, and gross weights in both U.S. and metric values. Attach this list to the outside of the package in a waterproof envelope.
  5. Certificate of Origin: If your products are eligible for AGOA, you may need a certificate of origin. This document indicates where the products were manufactured, produced, or grown. Contact the relevant authorities or agencies to obtain this certificate.
  6. AGOA Textile Visa (if applicable): For textile and apparel exports, you’ll need an AGOA Textile Visa (Textiles Certificate of Origin). Ensure your products meet the necessary requirements and apply for the visa accordingly.
  7. Manufacturers Certificate for AGOA Visa (if applicable): If required, obtain a Manufacturers Certificate for AGOA Visa for eligible products.
  8. Phytosanitary Certificate (if applicable): For agricultural products, you may need a phytosanitary certificate, especially if you are exporting plants or other agricultural items. Coordinate with the Department of Crop Resources in the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry, and Fisheries to ensure compliance.

Step 3: Compliance and Export

  1. Quality Assurance: Ensure that your products meet the necessary quality standards and comply with U.S. regulations.
  2. Export Procedures: Follow the export procedures, including customs clearance and documentation submission, according to the specific requirements of the U.S. and AGOA.
  3. Keep Records: Maintain accurate records of all export-related documents and transactions. These records may be requested by customs authorities.
  4. Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated with the latest AGOA guidelines, trade regulations, and any changes in eligibility criteria.

By following these step-by-step guidelines, Ugandan exporters can navigate the AGOA process effectively and maximize the benefits of duty-free access to the U.S. market. It’s essential to maintain compliance with all regulations and standards to ensure a smooth export process under AGOA.