China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) has announced that, following an exchange of letters, 60% of imports from 26 of Africa’s least developed countries are duty free with effect from July 1, 2010.
The affected countries are Burundi, Tanzania, Guinea-Bissau, Ethiopia, Comoros, Rwanda, Guinea, Benin, Mauritania, Eritrea, Uganda, Togo, Malawi, Lesotho, Sudan, Mozambique, Mali, Djibouti, Central African Republic, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Chad, Madagascar, Zambia, Congo, and Equatorial Guinea.
Exchanges of letters with the four other least developed African countries which have established diplomatic relations with China – Angola, Senegal, Niger and Somalia – are in process and expected to come into effect at the beginning of 2011.
MOFCOM stated that the exemption from duties of imports from African least developed countries was a commitment made by China in the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, and also an important measure for China to help African counties develop and further enhance fair and mutual cooperation. Following the latest announcement, the categories of commodities subject to zero tariffs has reached over 4,700, a large increase from only 478 in 2006.
Furthermore, it disclosed that, in order to open its market to African commodities, the Chinese government will, within the next three years, gradually expand the range of commodities which would enjoy zero tariffs to 95% for all the African least developed countries which have established diplomatic relations with China.