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OPTIMISING ACCESS TO THE MARKET AND LEGAL TOOLS RELATING TO CAMEROON'S TRADE POLICY

Posted on: May 24, 2018

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The "Optimising access to the market and legal tools relating to Cameroon's trade policy" project has as major objective to operationalize Cameroon's national export strategy and take advantage of trade opportunities offered by the new EPA. It also has as objective to help Cameroon operators to formulate a better strategy for the prevention of trade disputes involving Cameroon while taking into account development imperatives.

As part of this project, a European market access map was produced for products and services of Cameroon's priority sectors. It identified markets within the European Union that present new niches, figured out the nature of non-tariff barriers for Cameroon products and studied factors that limit trade opportunities for Cameroon's products and services. The difficulties encountered are extrinsic impediments to operators and their own operational choices.

A study was also conducted on the correlations between EPA digital and trade areas of Cameroon. This study considered electronic commerce and the use of computer and telecommunications networks to facilitate the exportation of Cameroon's products and services and reduce trade cost for business persons. It resulted in the identification of difficulties encountered, where they lead to a loss of competitiveness for Cameroon enterprises and means to remedy it.

Each of the aforementioned studies make recommendations to better access export markets and propose concrete measures to make the Cameroon national export strategy more operational. They have an action plan which describes the activities carried out, by each economic and regulatory stakeholders, in the short, medium and long-term.

Studies, their recommendations and action plans were presented and discussed during a national restitution workshop that held in Yaounde from 18 to 20 December 2017. Additional recommendations were formulated and integrated into the final version of studies, studies of which served as the national dialogue basis essential between business persons and Government services for the implementation of a dynamic policy for the promotion of exports to the European Union. 

In addition to studies, the project organised several training and refresher workshops in Cameroon, led by the team of experts.

The first training on trade disputes, prevention and settlement of disputes, preparation of trade contracts took place in Douala from 10 to 12 January 2018. It helped to polish up the legal architecture of international trade and show the interactions between the various legal orders that affect Cameroon exporters.

A second training had as theme trade defence and implementation of an alert and monitoring protocol on anticompetitive practices.  It took place in Yaounde from 15 to 17 January 2018. The discussion held during this training led to an increased awareness in participants and the Ministry of Trade on the need to carry out specific and additional activities of designing a trade monitoring mechanism at the service of Cameroon's trade policy. The structure of such a mechanism and variables to be taken into consideration were discussed and debated during the workshop, as well as financing options.

Based on what was discussed, the Ministry of Trade intends to prepare a project document including terms of reference for the concrete design of an effective trade monitoring mechanism in Cameroon.

Activities as part of this project enjoyed the fruitful and hitch-free cooperation of the Ministry of Trade, team of experts, Transtec and the TradeCom II PMU.

Programme funded by European Union at the request of ACP Group - Implemented by AESA CONSORTIUM