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Benin Imports

artice info

Benin is a small country situated on the West African Cost. It is an agro-based country, more than 70 percent of the population depends on agriculture. Port of Cotonou is a modern port to reach over 100 million consumers in neighboring countries such as Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Mali.

Benin’s main imports are fuel, food and capital equipment. Benin’s main import partners are France, China, Togo, Ghana, Belgium and the United Kingdom. 

Today trade between the U.S. and Benin is small, however interest in products made in USA is constantly growing. Meat products and rice constitute about 60 percent of the total U.S. agricultural exports to Benin. Potential exports to Benin for the U.S. exporters include wheat grain, rice, processed foodstuffs and soybeans.

Export Portal online marketplace is a perfect starting point for international exporters, traders or wholesalers looking to establish direct contacts with companies from Benin and from all across the world. Find Export and Import Business Partners in Benin, Distributors, Manufacturers and Importers. Export Portal – your gate to international trade.

Benin Exports

artice info

Benin is a country with a strong potential in agriculture. Benin's main exports include cotton, shea butter, cashews, beans, corn, cocoa, coffee, palm products and seafood. Re-export trade in Benin involves importing products from all across the globe and then exporting them to neighboring countries especially to Nigeria.

Benin exports mostly agricultural products. Cotton (40 percent of total exports) is the most important export followed by cocoa, maize and seafood. This lack of diversification makes the country’s trade highly vulnerable to weather conditions and price fluctuations. Benin’s main export partners are Nigeria, China, India, Chad, Ghana, Thailand, Togo and Indonesia.

Thus the country plays a vital role in sub-regional trade due to the Port of Cotonou. The port makes Benin a transit hub for the transportation of goods imported into West African countries. This status as a distribution hub goes back to the end of the 60's during the Nigerian Civil War. In those times products imported from the global markets were transported to Nigeria via Benin. Today, a major portion of imports of used cars, textiles, second-hand clothing and tires are being routed through Benin to meet the rising demand for these products in Nigeria.

Export Portal online marketplace is a perfect starting point for international exporters, traders or wholesalers looking to establish direct contacts with companies from Benin and from all across the world. Find Export and Import Business Partners in Benin, Distributors, Manufacturers and Importers. Export Portal – your gate to international trade.

Customs requirements of Benin

Benin Customs Contacts



Address: Boulevard de la Marina 01 BP 400 COTONOU, République du Bénin

Tel: +229 21 31 56 54/55 


Benin is open to foreign trade. The country is a member of different commercial organizations that include WTO and UEMOA. The majority of traded goods pass through the port of Cotonou and the government aims to extend its capacities further. International economic institutions regularly call on Benin to improve its business climate.


Export/Import Requirements:

Exporters and investors interested in doing business in Benin can use the Foreign Commercial Service's Gold Key Program or the International Company Profile (ICP) program to gain more information about the Beninese market and arrange meetings and contacts with possible clients in Benin.

For those investors who wish to establish a business in Benin the government has established Corporate Formalities Center at the Benin Chamber of Commerce and Industry's Cotonou headquarters to facilitate the registration of new businesses. 

There are 4 categories of products on which customs duties are levied:

1. 0% on drugs, books and condoms

2. 5% on essential goods, basic raw materials, capital goods and specific inputs

3. 10% on inputs and intermediary products

4. 20% on final consumption and all goods imported outside of the WAEMU zone (frozen fish, used clothes, milk, oil, nuts, canned fish, etc.)

On top of these customs duties, importers are also required to pay 18% Value-Added-Tax at the point of entry. 

Documents related to import requirements vary depending on the type of the imported goods. The main documents to be produced by importers before the clearing of goods are the invoice, the bill of lading, the Inspection certificate issued by BIVAC or Bureau Veritas Group, the importer’s card, attestation of origin of the goods (if they are from a WAEMU or ECOWAS member state). 

Procedures for securing an exporter status

Exporting is subject to no prior procedure in Benin. Any private individual or body corporate of any nationality may freely export authorized products.

However, the export of gold, diamond and all other precious metals is subject to prior notice of the Ministry of Finance.

Exporting is subject in Benin to the:

 - Prior securing of the importer card

 - Compilation of the import file

Procedures for securing a status of importer to Benin

These procedures involve 2 steps:

 - Registration in the corporate and trade register

 - Issuance of the importer card

Formalities and procedures of export from Benin

Exports of goods from anywhere in the Republic of Benin are carried out merely with an authorization of the Directorate of Foreign Trade that issues a certificate of origin or an export document.

Securing a certificate of origin or export document is subject to submission of the following documents:

- A duly filled certificate of origin form

- An export authorization request

- A customs certificate

- An export-related commitment of exchange

- A photocopy of the customs declaration duly signed by the Customs Service

- EUR 1 movement certificate and the generalized system of preference form for exports to Europe


Note: 1) Exports are not subject to control upon shipment.

           2) The certificate of origin or the export document is issued free of charge.


Procedures of import from Benin 

The procedure of import from Benin involves these steps:

- The issuance of the import intention;

- Securing the certificate of origin;

- Inspection of the quality of the imported goods;

- Import proceeds domiciliation.

Export duties and taxes (DTS) are no longer charged since February 1, 1993. However, this suspension does not apply to the export of precious metals, crude oil and cocoa beans.

The import customs clearance procedure involves 6 steps:

- Goods bonding

- Accounting submission

- Declaration entry

- Check

- Duty clearance

- Good collection

The required documentation for goods accounting are as follows:

- the declaration, the bill of lading (sea way), the air bill (air way), the consignment note (road)

- invoices (suppliers, freight and insurance and other documents useful for determining the WTO value)

- the packing list

- the importer card

- the certificate of origin, if required

- the pricing detail certificate formerly called the Customs Valuation Certificate (issued by BIVAC for goods with an FOB value in excess or equal to three (03) million CFAF) and the Goods Inspection Certificate

- CIPAF receipt (issued by the Taxation Office)

- The phytosanitary certificate for some products (meat, edible offal, frozen fish, etc.)