AfCFTA e-tariff book, what’s the state of play?


In January 2022, the AfCFTA Secretariat announced the imminent release of an AfCFTA Tariff Book inclusive of Rules of Origin with the customs procedures applicable to each product traded under the AfCFTA. This was followed, on February 15, 2022, by an MOU that was signed by the AfCFTA Secretariat with the World Customs Organisation (WCO) to strengthen the organisational capacity, transparency and effectiveness of African Customs administrations, which included an engagement to provide support in populating the AfCFTA Tariff Book. On 27 January 2022, during a virtual meeting held by representatives of the World Customs Organisation (WCO), the AfCFTA Secretariat and the EU Commission on the review of the state of play in the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the Head of Customs Cooperation, Trade Facilitation and Transit at the AfCFTA Secretariat announced that the AfCFTA tariff book will be in practice an “e-tariff book”, i.e., a web-based digital tariff platform which will include the tariff offers submitted by AfCFTA signatories, with the tariff rates applicable for each product traded under the AfCFTA agreement, that will be made available to anyone in a user-friendly and easily accessible manner.

The AfCFTA e-tariff book, that was set to be operationalised in February 2022, is at the moment not yet active, but the relevant technical work and IT architecture have already been initiated (for an overview of how the AfCFTA e-tariff book will look like, click here).

This tariff book, which will allow traders to identify their products with the product-specific RoO and customs procedures that is necessary to fulfil in order they can qualify for preferential trade under the AfCFTA, is much awaited by African traders, and the reason why it wasn't launched earlier is that negotiations on rules of origin were (and are) still ongoing. But now, as consensus has been reached on rules of origin of products corresponding to almost 90% of tariff lines, the e-tariff book will be soon a reality.