Cameroon – Trade: President Biya launches progressive customs dismantling, following EPA with EU coming into force

Written by Deckson N.

There it goes! The last hurdle to the launch of the customs dismantling process in Cameroon, as part of the implementation of the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed between Cameroon and the European Union, was removed on 3 August.

Indeed, on the eve of the effective date of application of this agreement meant to create a duty-free zone between the two parties, the Cameroonian Head of State, Paul Biya, signed a decree on the rules of origin applicable to products originating from the European Union. The launch of the customs dismantling on the Cameroonian side was conditioned by the signature of this text, according to Jean Tchoffo, President of the Committee in charge of monitoring the application of the Cameroon-European Union bilateral Economic Partnership Agreement.

Through this presidential decree, products from the first group (industrial and high technology machines, such as turbines, cranes, sewing machines, sawmills, computers; but also basic products such as medicines, medical devices, basic chemical products) imported from the EU will enter Cameroon with a customs tariffs reduction of 25%. This reduction will progressively increase by 25% every year, to be completely cancelled after 4 years.

A 2nd group of products from the EU will be liberalised after 9 years, according to the agreement. Among these products, the local representation of the EU lists “vehicles for goods transport, lorries, tractors, other machines and industrials and electrical devices, iron or steel and other raw or semi-finished metals products, certain papers and cartons, rubber semi-finished products, etc.” After 15 years, starting from the date of effect of the interim EPA, a 3rd group of European products will enter the country duty-free. These are this time, we learn, “machines and vehicles for personal use, food products not produced or processed in Cameroon, and various consumer goods”.

As a reminder, this interim EPA signed on 15 January 2009 between Cameroon and the European Union provides for an exclusion list, on which are present products which will mot be liberalised as part of this agreement. These are among others agricultural and breeding products, as well as products from strategic industrial sectors for the country such as aluminium, drinks, tobacco, mineral water, dairy products, wooden furniture, paintings, soaps, cosmetic products, clothes, etc.

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Deckson N.

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