Outline of the system
By way of derogation from the principle of import and export freedom, certain legislative and regulatory texts (Law No. 91 999 of 27 December 1991 and Decree No. 93 313 of 11 March 1993) have established legal regimes for economic reasons and for reasons relating to public morals, order or safety and the protection of human, animal and plant life and health.
The legal regime for imports comprises three distinct regimes:
the free import regime;
the approval regime; and
the restriction regime.
Pursuant to Article 4.1 of Decree No. 93 313 of 11 March 1993, the restriction regime concerns: products the import of which is subject to quantitative restrictions; and products the import of which is prohibited.
The products concerned are those listed in Annex B to the above mentioned Decree. Since these products have been subject to progressive annual liberalization, the regime now applies only to printed cotton fabrics and petroleum products similar to those produced by the Ivorian Refinery Company (SIR).
Nature of licensing
If Automatic, administrative purpose
If Non-Automatic, description of the notified Non-Automatic Licensing regime
Products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
The restriction (import licensing) regime does not involve the restriction of the quantity or value of imports. The import licence is an import document that applies to the above mentioned products when their f.o.b. value is CFAF 25,000 or more and is required for the customs clearance of these goods. Where the f.o.b. value of the goods is CFAF 500,000 or more, an inspection order is also required.
Questions for products under restriction as to the quantity or value of imports
Since the adoption of Law No. 91 999 of 27 December 1991 on competition and its implementing decree, there have not been any quotas for the two types of product (textile and petroleum products) subject to import licensing. Operators are only required to submit an import licence application to the Foreign Trade Directorate for its consideration if the f.o.b. import value is CFAF 25,000 or more.
The system applies to products originating from which country?
The regime applies to goods originating in and coming from all countries.
Expected duration of licensing procedure
Is the licensing statutorily required?
The following legislative and regulatory provisions form the legal basis for the licensing regime: Law No. 91 999 of 27 December 1991 on competition; Decree No. 93 313 of 11 March 1993 implementing Law No. 91 999 of 27 December 1991 on competition in connection with the conditions under which foreign goods from any source or origin may enter Côte d'Ivoire, as well as the conditions under which goods may be exported or re exported to foreign countries; and Order No. 38 of 12 March 1993 implementing Decree No. 93 313 of 11 March 1993.
Does the legislation leave designation of products to be subject to licensing to administrative discretion?
Is it possible for the government to abolish the system without legislative approval?
Eligibility of applicants
Is there a system of registration of persons or firms permitted to engage in importation?
What persons or firms are eligible to apply for a licence?
Any person, firm or institution is eligible to apply for an import licence, where required, if, and only if, it has an up to date importer code.
Importer status is subject to the operator being granted a registration number known as an import/export code.
Any importer (person, firm or institution) is eligible to register for an import/export code.
Import/export codes may be obtained by any legal or natural person with a tax account number wishing to import or export.
The import/export code makes it possible to maintain an up to date list of importers.
It should be noted that import/export codes are valid for a renewable one year period.
Is there a registration fee?
Is there a published list of authorized importers?
Contact point for information on eligibility
Submission of an application
Administrative body(ies) for submission of an application
What information is required in applications?
What documents is the importer required to supply with the application?
Importers are required to submit the following documents with their applications: the pro forma invoice for the goods; a valid importer/exporter code; and a copy of their identity document.
Window of submission of an application
How far in advance of importation must application for a licence be made?
There is no quantitative limit for importation under a licence. An application for an import licence must be made each time an operator wishes to import a product subject to licensing and when it has already received the pro forma invoice for its order from the supplier.
Are there any limitations as to the period of the year during which application for licence can be made? If so, explain
Issuing the license
Can a licence be granted immediately on request?
Import licences may be obtained in 24 hours from the Foreign Trade Directorate.
Can licences be obtained within a shorter time-limit or for goods arriving at the port without a licence
Which administrative body is responsible for approving application of licences?
They are issued by only one directorate.
Must the applications be passed on to other organs for visa, note or approval?
Are there any other conditions attached to the issue of a licence?
Import licences are required for goods or merchandise the import of which is subject to the restriction regime. This regime does not seek to restrict the quantity or value of imports.
Fees and other administrative charges
Is there any licensing fee or administrative charge?
What is the amount of the fee or charge?
A licensing fee of CFAF 50,000 applies.
Is there any deposit or advance payment required associated with the issue of licences?
The issue of a licence is conditional upon an advance non refundable payment.
Amount or rate?
Is it refundable?
What is the period of retention?
What is the purpose of this requirement?
Refusal of an application
Under what circumstances may an application for a licence be refused other than failure to meet the ordinary criteria?
The ordinary criteria for import licence applications are as follows:
an import licence application addressed to the Director in charge of foreign trade regulation; the pro forma invoice for the goods; a valid importer/exporter code; and a copy of the applicant's identity document.
Are the reasons for any refusal given to applicants?
If the applicant fails to provide all these documents, the application will be rejected.
Have applicants a right of appeal in the event of refusal to issue a licence?
If so, to what bodies and under what procedures?
Are there any limitations as to the period of year during which importation may be made?
What documents are required upon actual importation?
Upon actual importation, the following are required: an import/export code or, where appropriate, an occasional import code; an import licence for goods or merchandise the import of which is subject to the restriction regime; and an Import Information Form (FRI) for goods or merchandise the import of which is free or subject to the approval regime.
Are there any other administrative procedures, apart from import licensing and similar administrative procedures, required prior to importation?
In addition to licensing and related formalities, a number of other administrative procedures are required prior to importation.
Conditions of licensing
What is the period of validity of a licence? Can the validity be extended? How?
Import licences are valid for six months from the date of signature. Their validity can be extended only once, as from the fifth month, for an additional six month period.
Is there any penalty for the non-utilization of a licence or a portion of a licence?
If a licence or a portion of a licence is not used within the above mentioned time-frame, it will no longer be valid.
Are licences transferable between importers? If so, are any limitations or conditions attached to such transfer?
Import licences are non transferable.
Is foreign exchange automatically provided by the banking authorities for goods to be imported?
Is a licence required as a condition to obtaining foreign exchange?
Is foreign exchange always available to cover licences issued?
What formalities must be fulfilled for obtaining the foreign exchange?