Progressive Elimination of Customs Duties under the EU-Cameroon EPA: Phase 7
Cameroon rolled out Phase 7 Application of Progressive Elimination of Customs Duties for Goods Originating from the EU in in accordance with the EU-Cameroon Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
By Jacob Akuo
International trade law expert
Under Article 20 and 22 (respectively) of the EPA, products originating from Cameroon enjoy a duty–free, quota-free access to the EU markets. In exchange, Cameroon undertakes to progressively eliminate tariffs and custom duties on all products originating from the EU based on well-defined rules of origin. Implementation of this progressive elimination commenced on August 4th, 2014 and is supposed to be revised downwards in phases on each anniversary date across the three categories of goods in the schedules of concessions.
Phase 7 elimination was announced by the Ministry of Finance on August 3rd, 2022, and is as follows for goods in category 1 to 3 of the schedule of concessions to the EPA:
Category 1 includes goods essential for the industrial development of Cameroon, which Cameroon does not domestically produce. They consist of mainly industrial machines (pumps, generators, turbines, etc.), electrical equipment (transformers, capacitors, resistors, etc.) and certain chemicals. (Commission, 2020). Since phase 5 eliminations in 2020, they enjoy a 100% elimination of custom duties. This shall continue to be the case in phase 7 as per the Communique of the Ministry of Finance
Category 2 includes goods such as transport and construction material (Commission, 2020). Cameroon effectively commenced elimination in this category on August 4th, 2017 (15% then). Under phase 7 eliminations of August 4th, 2022, they now enjoy a 90% elimination of customs duties.
Category 3 includes products such as cars, motorcycles, fuel, cement, etc. Even though it is phase 7 elimination, effective elimination of customs duties strictly only commenced on January 1st, 2021 (phase 5) due to the COVID19 Pandemic. This phase shall see Cameroon eliminate 30% of customs duties, up from 20% in phase 6.
These eliminations on goods originating from the EU shall continue until such time when there shall be no customs duties on 80 percent of the goods originating from the EU and both parties can have relatively unfettered market access in each other’s markets on these three categories of goods. The estimated time for this unfettered market access to come to pass is 2030, everything being equal.
Cameroon and the EU concluded negotiations for an EPA on December 17, 2007. This EPA was later signed on January 2009 and approved by the European Parliament on June 13, 2013, and ratified by Cameroon on July 22, 2014. Its provisional application is effective since August 4, 2014. Provisional because the EPA was supposed to include other Member States of the CEMAC.
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