The Gabonese Republic is classified as an upper middle income country with one of the highest per capita GDP in Sub-Saharan Africa. More than 95 per cent of its export is primary goods, and around 85 per cent is products of the extractive industries. Gabon is mainly importing manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment. Its dependence on oil makes Gabon’s economy vulnerable to external factors.
The country is the WTO member and the local trade standards correspond to the international ones.
The Gabonese Standard Body (AGANOR) is the main organization, responsible for establishing trade standards for the country’s standards. Its mission is to contribute to the development and implementation of government policy in the field of standardization.
In addition, AGANOR wishes to promote trade, minimize the possibility of fraud in the import operations and to ensure that imported goods Gabon are in accordance with International Standards, Regional or Gabonese and/or the essential requirements.
The Gabonese Conformity Assessment Program (PROGEC) was created in order to ensure that all goods are verified for conformity to relevant Gabon standards or approved equivalents before shipment to Gabon. The primary objective of the program is to ensure quality of products, health and safety, and environmental protection for Gabon and this is reflected in the product coverage scope.
The key elements undertaken in PROGEC are:
- Physical inspection prior to shipment;
- Sampling, testing and analysis in accredited laboratories;
- Audit of product processes;
- Documentary check of conformity with regulations;
- Assessment of conformity to standards.
Gabon and its neighbors follow the import tariff structure of Central Africa. Import tariffs include:
- General Systems of Preference – no import tariffs for goods produced within a CEMAC-member countries;
- Common External Tariff – five percent for Category One products (e.g., basic products), 10 percent for Category Two (e.g., raw materials), 20 percent for Category Three (e.g., intermediate products such as most food), and 30 percent for Category Four (all other products);
- Processing Fee (Redevance d’utilisation du systeme informatique, RUSID) – can vary from 2%-80% of the cost of insurance and freight (CIF).
The Value Added Tax (VAT) is generally 18 percent. A reduced VAT of 10 percent is applicable to mineral water, cement, sugar, and chicken produced in Gabon. Milk products, butter, margarine, cereals, medicine and medical supplies, and fertilizer are exempt from VAT.
CERTIFICATE OF CONFORMITY
All the international exporters/importers trading with Gabon need to comply with the requirements of the Gabon goverment’s office, Agence Gabonaise de Normalisation (AGANOR) Conformity Assessment Programme called PROGEC in order for their goods to clear customs. Failure to do so can result in severe delays in goods clearance, penalties, or even shipments being returned.
The government in Gabon has implemented a program in order to assure Gabon’s consumers of the quality and safety of imported goods.
The requirements for Gabon are:
- Every consignment of regulated imported goods must be accompanied by a Conformity Certificate;
- Certificates are needed to ensure customs clearance of shipments;
- Any shipments arriving without the Certificate of Conformity will be rejected and penalties applied;
- The Certificate confirms that the products comply with the relevant Gaboni technical regulations, national, regional or international standards;
- The authorities in Gabon may take random samples from imported consignments to verify compliance.
Every importer has to prepare a list of documents in order to sell the products on the territory of Gabon. These are:
- Bill of Lading;
- Import Permits;
- Sanitary Certificates (for farm products, especially meat);
- Special Permits (must be secured for hazardous products, such as: weapons, explosives, chemical products);
- Certificate of Conformity.
Other than the requirements listed in the standards, the labeling packaging of imported products must be in French at least for markings and instructions relative to consumer safety. Packaged goods (e.g. foodstuffs, chemicals, cosmetics, and similar) shall indicate:
- the batch numbers;
- the dates of expiration;
- the date of production.
All imports with a limited shelf life shall have sufficient shelf life remaining from the date of expected landing in Gabon.
Ministry of Commerce
Mr. Barthelemy Ngoulakia, Deputy Secretary
B.P. 561 Libreville, Gabon
Tel. +241-01-76-09-91/ +241-01-74-59-25