Trade Data Analysis

Central African Republic: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile

Central African Republic: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile

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This Trade Data Update provides an overview of the Central African Republic’s (CAR’s) intra-African trade relationships, both within the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and with other individual African countries; the top import and export products traded; and applicable tariffs. Data is sourced from the UN International Trade Centre (ITC) TradeMap and World Trade Organisation (WTO) Tariff databases. The update is accompanied by a visual representation of key data and trends in an infographic.

Intra-Africa trade

In 2017, CAR exported and imported goods to and from the rest of Africa to the value of US$30 million and US$77 million, respectively. Intra-Africa exports accounted for 15% of CAR’s total exports and imports for 19% of total imports for 2017.

  • CAR mainly exports transport equipment and machinery to the rest of Africa; 54% of intra-Africa exports are transport equipment (including trailers and semi-trailers, goods vehicles, containers and armoured fighting vehicles) and 31% are machinery (including generators, construction equipment and refrigeration and freezing equipment).

  • Other intra-Africa export products are limited and include tarpaulins, awnings and tents; men’s and boy’s suits; rough and sawn wood; prepared fish and semi-manufactured gold. The top 10 export products account for 94% of CAR’s exports to the rest of Africa.

  • Apart from cement; tarpaulins, awnings and tents; manufactured tobacco; and certain machines and mechanical appliances CAR mainly imports food products from the rest of Africa. These products include soups and broths, food preparations, frozen beef and fish, sugar and rice. The top 10 import products account for 40% of CAR’s intra-African imports.

  • CAR mainly trades with Cameroon and Benin; 67% of CAR’s total intra-African trade (exports + imports) are with these two countries – Cameroon as the main source country and Benin as the main destination.

  • Other trading partners include Chad (8% of total trade), South Africa (5%) and Congo (4%).

  • 92% of CAR’s intra-Africa exports are to Benin (63%) and Chad (29%). Other destination markets include Cameroon, Congo and Senegal.

  • 66% of CAR’s intra-Africa imports are sourced from Cameroon. Other source countries include South Africa (7%), Senegal (5%) and Congo (5%).

Intra-Africa import tariffs

CAR is part of three RECs; however, the free-trade agreements of CEN-SAD and ECCAS are not yet in place. In terms of CEMAC, CAR levies the intra-CEMAC generalised preferential tariff on imports from other CEMAC members (duty-free) and the CEMAC CET on imports from outside the CEMAC region. The CEMAC CET is the MFN applied tariff of CAR. This means that goods imported from ECCAS and CEN-SAD member states which are not members of CEMAC (including Benin, Senegal, Mauritania and Ivory Coast) are levied the CEMAC CET.

The highest average ad valorem applied tariff is 30% and there are no specific duties. The 30% tariff is applicable to numerous tariff lines, including articles of clothing and apparel, headgear, umbrellas, meat and fish preparations, clocks and watches and cocoa and cocoa preparations.

A very limited number of goods are imported duty-free. At the HS6 level only 34 tariff lines are duty-free; the majority of which relate to air transportation (aeroplanes, helicopters, gliders, spacecrafts and their parts) (HS12). Other duty-free imports are printed materials (books, dictionaries, newspapers, musical manuscripts, topographical maps and architectural drawings), apparel and clothing of fur skin (HS 430310) and wheat flour (HS 11010010).

Apart from duty-free and 30%, the CEMAC CET has four additional tariff bands – 5%, 10%, 15% and 20%.

28% of CAR’s intra-Africa imports are from countries outside CEMAC; 68% of which are imported from South Africa, Senegal, Mauritania and Ivory Coast. The main import products are smoking tobacco, tents of synthetic fibres, machines and mechanical appliances not elsewhere specified, t-shirts and petroleum bitumen. None of the main import products are imported duty-free, on the contrary most are levied high import tariffs (either 20% or 30%). Of the top 20 products imported into CAR, only herbicides are imported at the low tariff of 5%. A third of the imports face 30% import duties and 5 tariff lines (frozen sardines, tuna and other fresh- and saltwater fish; steel/iron structures; and sorting machinery) 20% import duties. The high import duties applicable to trade between CAR and African countries outside CEMAC can be a contributing factor to the low levels of trade.


Central African Republic: Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile | September 2018
Infographic: Central African Republic – Intra-Africa trade and tariff profile | September 2018

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