EU, Côte D'Ivoire Launch Third Phase of Tariff Liberalisation

European Commission

Valdis Dombrovskis, Executive Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Trade, and H.E. Wautabouna Ouattara, Minister Delegate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, African Integration and Ivorians Abroad in charge of African Integration and Ivorians Abroad of Côte d'Ivoire, are pleased to announce the start of the third phase of tariff liberalisation under the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA) between the European Union and Côte d'Ivoire.

On 17 April 2024, Côte d'Ivoire decided to liberalise an additional 1080 tariff lines with retroactive effect from 1 January 2024, bringing the total number of liberalised tariff lines to 3385 or 55% of total tariff lines. This third tariff cut covers mainly mechanical and electrical machinery, as well as appliances, plastics, and chemical products. Since September 2016, the iEPA guarantees duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market for products made in Côte d'Ivoire, and this additional tariff liberalisation is a crucial step in developing and diversifying our bilateral trade.

The progressive removal of tariffs on EU goods under the iEPA creates better opportunities for European companies to trade and invest in Côte d'Ivoire and to produce goods for export to the wider African market and beyond. It also ensures cheaper inputs are made available for Ivorian production, increasing the competitiveness of locally produced goods, and supporting both the industrial development in Côte d'Ivoire and the country's integration into global value chains.

The last two out of five phases of tariff liberalisation are scheduled for 2026 and 2029, leading to the maximum tariff liberalisation foreseen in the iEPA of around 88% of tariff lines. The remaining tariff lines are exempted from liberalisation in the interest of safeguarding Ivorian food security and the development of domestic value chains.

In addition, the iEPA plays a pivotal role in facilitating policy dialogue to enhance cooperation on sustainability and the development of value chains, including in the context of the Sustainable Cocoa Initiative[1] that aims to ensure a living income to cocoa farmers, along with fighting deforestation and child labour in the cocoa supply chain.

To develop further economic relations, Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis and Minister Wautabouna Ouattara affirm their shared ambition to make decisive progress towards opening the negotiations for a Sustainable Investment Facilitation Agreement (SIFA) between the European Union and Côte d'Ivoire.

[1] The EU and Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana are developing work on sustainability through the Sustainable Cocoa Initiative (launched in September 2020), a multistakeholder process on the sustainability of cocoa supply chains, to fight against child-labour, deforestation and to ensure living income for farmers. This process has led in June 2022 to the establishment of an Alliance on Sustainable Cocoa with an action roadmap.

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