Commissioner of Customs Details Importation under AfCTFTA

Commissioner of Customs, Col. Kwadwo Damoah

Ghana appears to be ready to take full advantage of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), as the Commissioner of Customs, Col. Kwadwo Damoah, has detailed processes that must be fulfilled by importers who want to import.

Ghana hosts the AfCFTA headquarters, hence the flurry of activities to facilitate the milestone trade regime in Africa.

At a business forum on the AfCTFTA in Accra he said importers will need some five core documents and processes, including the certificate of origin for the goods.

“Any importer bringing goods from an AfCFTA state party and intends to benefit from the ECOWAS preferential tariffs rates is required to provide the following documents from the exporting state party; Certificate of Origin/Origin Declaration or Producer/Supplier Declaration (issued by Designated Competent Authority at the country of exportation); “Export Declaration covering goods from exporting state party,” he said.

Col. Damoa said after the provision of the documents, importers would then have to create the declaration of their Bill of Entries (BoE).

 “Due to our (Ghana) membership of ECOWAS and other arrangements put in place, the exporting country or country of origin should be a state party of AfCFTA,” he said.

So far 34 countries have ratified the agreement with two still in the process of doing so. The Customs will from time to time publish list of countries that have ratified the agreement to keep importers updated.

African heads of government agreed to establish a continental free trade area in 2012 and started negotiations in 2015. 

The agreement is set to be signed by all 55member states of the African Union, bringing together 1.2 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of more than $2 trillion. 

The draft agreement commits countries to removing tariffs on 90 percent of goods, with 10 percent of “sensitive items” to be phased in later.

The agreement will also liberalise services and aims to tackle so-called “non-tariff barriers” that hamper trade between African countries, such as long delays at the border.

Eventually, free movement of people and even a single currency could become part of the free trade area. 

By creating a single continental market for goods and services, the member states of the African Union hope to boost trade between African countries. 

Intra-African trade is relatively limited; UNCTAD, the main UN body dealing with trade, said it made up only 10.2 percent of the continent’s total trade in 2010.

On Tuesday, January 5, 2021, President Akufo-Addo officially launched the ‘Business Forum on the Start of AfCFTA Trading in Ghana.’

Trade and Industry Minister, Alan Kyeremanten, said the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) has been designated as the Authority for the issuance of Rules of Origin Certificate under the AfCFTA.

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