Simplifying rules of origin to boost free trade between Cameroon and Nigeria
Date: January 21, 2022 – Time: 9:00 am (Cameroon time)
Venue: S.T. Muna Foundation, Yaoundé
In Cameroon, the private sector contributes nearly 85% to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and plays a key role in the country’s economic development. Thus, in defining its new national development strategy 2020-2030 (SND30), the government intends to strengthen the competitiveness of this sector by diversifying its trade with the rest of the world. Among the markets with high development potential that the country wishes to conquer, the Nigerian market (which represents a little more than 200 million consumers) occupies a place of choice. Indeed, free trade between Cameroon and Nigeria would boost local production in both countries and create opportunities that will promote industrialization and the development of national value chains. To give domestic firms a competitive advantage, it is essential to remove tariffs and import quotas. That notwithstanding, these measures can only be effective if the free trade agreement between the two countries respects the rules of origin. These rules which determine the country of origin of a product, are therefore essential for selecting products eligible for preferential treatment in the bilateral trade undertaken between both countries. Also, they are essential for promoting national know-how of each country. Likewise, it is paramount for these “rules of origin”, to be properly established, so as to ensure diversification of production and industrialization.
The main objective of the third working session of the Operational Working Group is to discuss how to simplify rules of origin for products as a means to boost trade between Cameroon and Nigeria. Specifically, it will include:
- Understanding what mechanisms are in place to implement and verify rules of origin between Cameroon and Nigeria;
- Identifying strategies to support and to promote the “Made in Cameroon” brand;
- Outlining the challenges that may arise from the implementation of the continental free trade area (AfCFTA) with respect to products of origin regulations;
- Examining how “rules of origin” can improve industrialization in both countries.
Members of the Operational Working Group (OWG) established as part of the Nkafu Open Trade Initiative which is being implemented by the Nkafu Policy Institute, a think tank at the Denis and Lenora Foretia Foundation.
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