Progressive Elimination of Customs Duties under the EU Cameroon Trade Deal
Cameroon Rolls-out Phase 6 Application of Progressive Elimination of Customs Duties for Goods Originating from the EU in Harmony with the EU-Cameroon EPA
By Jacob A. Akuo, Esq.,
Just over eight months after the phase 5 implementation of the progressive elimination of customs duties for goods originating from the EU under the EU-Cameroon EPA, Cameroon’s Ministry of Finance yesterday August 3rd, 2021, announced via a Communique that, phase 6 implementation shall commence on August 4th, 2021, in line with the original timetable of the Agreement.
To give you a bit of context, in our piece of January 15, 2021, we highlighted that Cameroon had resumed the implementation of the progressive elimination of customs duties on January 1, 2021 (phase 5) for goods originating from the EU after momentarily suspending it on August 4th, 2020. In their suspension letter to their EU counterparts, Cameroon alluded to the Pandemic. We also revealed that, in the discussions that followed between Cameroon and the EU, the EU accepted the suspension on the condition (inter alia) that Cameroon stick to the original timetable of rolling-out phase 6 eliminations in due course (August 4th, 2021).
That said, 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.
Here is how implementation of phase 6 shall play out as of today August 4th, 2021, 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, they enjoy a 100% elimination of custom duties. This shall continue to be the case in phase 6 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 6 eliminations commencing today August 4th, 2021, they now enjoy a 75% elimination of customs duties.
Category 3 include products such as cars, motorcycles, fuel, cement, etc. Even though it is phase 6 elimination, effective elimination of customs duties strictly only commenced on January 1st, 2021 (phase 5). This phase shall see Cameroon eliminate 20% of customs duties, up from a 10% in phase 5.
These eliminations on goods originating from the EU shall continue until such time when there shall be no customs duties on goods originating from the EU and both parties can enjoy relatively unfettered market access in each other’s markets on these three categories. However, elimination of customs duties on agricultural products continue to remain a sensitive matter for both parties. Cameroon remains very protective of its agricultural industry and has made little concessions to the EU in this regard.
#Cameroon and the #EU concluded an #EPA on December 17, 2007. This EPA was then signed in 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.
Under the EPA, since January 1, 2008, all #imports of products originating from Cameroon have access to the EU market without tariffs and without quotas and indefinitely. In return, Cameroon has committed to gradually eliminate customs duties (tariff dismantling) on 80% of its imports of products originating from the EU over a transitional period of 15 years beginning from August 4, 2016 for goods imported from the EU.
This item was reported previously here