It’s free to register as AfCFTA exporter – Customs tell shippers

The Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA-CD) says exporters who want to register under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) are not required to pay any registration fees before being admitted.

It said prospective exporters are supposed to download the registration form on the Integrated Customs Management System (ICUMS) online portal and provide the necessary information for registration.

Mr Fechin Akoto, Assistant Commissioner in charge of Trade and Tariffs at the GRA-CD, told members of the Greater Accra Regional Shippers Committee when they held their first quarterly meeting, in Accra.

Mr Akoto explained that exporters and trading public could also visit the Customs Technical Services Bureau at the GRA headquarters in Accra for all enquiries concerning exporting under the AfCFTA.

Explaining the Rules of Origin under the AfCFTA, Mr Akoto said, all exporters were supposed to complete and submit the AfCFTA export registration form, in order to obtain a Customs Reference Code for all export transactions.

Also, a joint team from the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industries (GNCCI), the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA-CD) and the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI), were supposed to inspect the premises of the prospective exporter to verify and approve the products before a Certificate of Origin can be issued to the exporter.

Upon receipt of a Certificate of Origin, Mr Akoto said an exporter could proceed to process a Customs Export Entry to cart the products to the Port of Exit.

At the Port of Exit, he said, designated Customs Official was supposed to sign and stamp the Certificate of Origin, which would make the goods acceptable and legal at the Port of Importation.

The Assistant Commissioner underlined the need for exporters to know the Rules of Origin on their fingertips since it was the legal standards supporting the differential treatment of some goods.

Additionally, the Rules of Origin aimed at deepening market integration, fostering economic transformation of the African Continent through industrialization, boosting intra-African trade and continental value chain, he stated.

Mr Akoto stated that, so far, 36 African countries had ratified the AfCFTA trade in goods and service protocols, however each country must offer 90 per cent commodity liberalisation, in order to allow any exporter to export certain goods and services to a particular country.

He noted that AfCFTA had outlined procedures for settlement of dispute on trading, therefore an aggrieved exporter could lodge a complaint for amicable resolution.

The AfCFTA has various reliefs for recognized exporters including import duties, exemption from import levy and ECOWAS levy.

Source: GNA

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