WCO supported Cameroon’s FTA implementation

22 June 2017

The World Customs Organization (WCO), with financial support from CCF Japan, organized a National Workshop on Rules of Origin for Cameroon Customs. This Workshop was conducted in Douala from 12 to 16 June 2017, and was attended by 23 officials from Cameroon Customs.

Cameroon has signed an interim Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union and has started to provisionally apply the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Central Africa. In the absence of a protocol on rules of origin in this Agreement, a national Decree has been issued for the applicable rules of origin for importations into Cameroon. For exportations to the EU, the rules of origin are those contained in Annex II of the EU Market Access Regulation.

Topics discussed during the Workshop included the key concepts for proper origin determination, related operational and procedural issues, the establishment of an efficient organization and provision of effective training and private sector outreach. 

During the Workshop, the WCO facilitator presented the Revenue Package initiatives, including the Guidelines on Preferential Origin Verification, Origin Certification and Advance Rulings, which have been designed to assist WCO Members in bringing the provisions in Free Trade Agreements into smooth operation. The WCO Comparative Study on Preferential Rules of Origin and the Database of preferential trade agreements were also presented.

Participants discussed specific areas of concern, including the lack of knowledge and use of the FTAs and challenges linked to administrative cooperation. Discussions also emphasized the importance of verifying the originating status of goods, rather than merely checking the authenticity of the Certificate of Origin.

The knowledge and experience gained from the Workshop will assist the Administration in the correct application of Cameroon’s Free Trade Agreements, in particular the EPA and will help Cameroon benefit from the regional economic integration and promote exports of originating products while ensuring a correct application of preferential treatments for importations.