Apparel manufacturers in Uganda and Mozambique who export their products to the United States will no longer have to pay duty after both countries were granted African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) visas.

The decision, announced at the White House by US trade representative Robert Zoellick during a briefing on Africa trade, means qualifying apparel imports from both countries now benefit from duty-free status under AGOA.

It also brings to 11 the number of AGOA beneficiaries that have qualified for duty-free apparel imports. The other approved countries are: Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, South Africa and Swaziland.

However, neither Mozambique nor Uganda has traditionally had a large apparel industry or significant apparel exports to the US.