Libreville - Gabon, 21 June 2018 (ECA - www.uneca.org/sro-ca) – A milestone on free trade in Central Africa has been reached, thanks to the launch of a series of training sessions for economic stakeholders and National Committees for the Admission of Industrial Products to the ECCAS-CEMAC Preferential Tariff regime – a series that will cover eight countries of the sub-region. The first of the series of training workshops, organized within the framework of a support convention signed between the European Union (EU) and the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and implemented by ECA’s Subregional Office for Central Africa, took place from 19 to 21 June 2018 in Libreville - Gabon.
For three days the economic stakeholders and the members of the National Committee for Approval of Industrial Products to benefit from the ECCAS-CEMAC Preferential Tariff of Gabon, internalized the procedures of compiling and treating files for the request of admission of industrial products into the said tariff regime. The training will enable Gabonese companies to take advantage of the opportunities offered by the approximately 170 million-strong community market of the sub-region, which will extend to the rest of Africa with the advent of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Addressing participants of the training workshop, Gabon’s Minister of Trade, HE Mr. David Mbadinga underlined the fact that the ECCAS Free trade Area offers Gabonese companies the opportunity to conquer a much bigger market, whilst enabling the State to increase its revenues. He therefore urged the economic stakeholders trained to get to work to submit their files to the National Committee for Approval of Industrial Products into the trade regime for validation and transmission to the regional Committees that will ultimately accredit their products into the preferential tariff regime.
According to Minister Mbadinga, the ECCAS-CEMAC Preferential Tariff which is the instrument for the implementation of for the Subregional free trade area is an asset for "the diversification of the economy which has become a priority of Government’s action set by the Head of State soon after his accession to power." This will help Gabon in its quest to reduce its dependence on the export of hydrocarbons.
On his part, the Deputy Secretary General of ECCAS – the Honorable Tabu Abdallah MANIRAKIZA said the training workshop will enable actors to "clear their doubts and seize the opportunity offerred by the mechanism to trade in a market of more than 170 million consumers, benefit from a zero-rate tariff and enjoy economies of scale that can reduce the production costs of industries and experience gains in terms of competitiveness."
ECA’s Representative at the Workshop – Mr Tidjani Chetima, noted, on his part, that the instruments of ECCAS and CEMAC Free Trade areas, notably the Preferential Tariff, were harmonized by the Steering Committee for the Rationalization of Regional Economic Communities in Central Africa (COPIL / CER-AC), on November 27, 2017. "I do not doubt that you will give all your attention to this training to enrich your knowledge in order to intensify the export of Gabonese products to the countries of the Community," he told the participants. He added that ECA remains very determined and committed "to accompany all actors in this noble task and those to come."
After the Gabon workshop, economic stakeholders and National Committees for the Admission of Industrial Products to the ECCAS-CEMAC Preferential Tariff regime in seven (07) other states, will benefit from the training. These include: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sao Tome and Principe and Chad.
The Sub-Regional Office for Central Africa
UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
P.O. Box 14935 Yaounde, Cameroon
Tel: (+237) 222504348 / 222504315 / 222504321
Abel Akara Ticha – Communication Officer
Tel: 237 222504348