Agriculture is a very important sector in the Cameroonian economy, as it employs 70% of its workforce, accounts for 42% of Gross Domestic Product and 30% of export revenue (Encyclopaedia of the Nations » Africa » Cameroon). The country has rich soils and a good climate to promote the production of diverse products. Between 1990 and 2005, agricultural yields had improved considerably, leading to an increase in the agricultural gross domestic product by 4%. Its agricultural products include coffee, cocoa beans, oil seeds, banana, cassava, grains, livestock and timber. The focus here is on the livestock of Cameroon’s agricultural production; and poultry will be the value chain of interest.
According to a study carried out in 2004 198, 614 households were involved in poultry farming, including chicken and in 2005, an estimated amount of 33.6 million chickens were produced. Even though we see these large figures, production was not enough to satisfy local demand and to this effect, it is noticed that from 1999 to 2004, there was heavy importation of frozen chicken from the European Union. This was done giving reasons that imported chicken was cheaper and affordable and was able to satisfy the high demand, which local production could not (source: department of statistics in the general directorate of customs – Douala, Cameroon). The data to explain this will be found in section four (4) of this paper.
1.1.2 Problem Statement
“No prohibitions or restrictions other than duties, taxes or other charges, whether made effective through quotas, import or export licences or other measures, shall be instituted or maintained by any contracting party on the importation of any product of the territory of any other contracting party or on the exportation or sale for export of any product destined for the territory of any other contracting party” – (Article 9 of the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade). Article 19 under the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade is an exemption to this rule, which states that: when imports of a like product can be an injury to the local industry, temporary restriction measures can be taken with the aim to promote the country’s domestic industry.
In 2006, the Citizens' Association for the Defence of Collective Interests (ACDIC) conducted a campaign to restrict imports of frozen chickens from Europe and Latin America and to promote the local poultry sector. Measures taken by the Cameroon Government included a substantial reduction in the number of chicken importation licenses, a reduction on quantities imported, and the setting up of health control posts at the border where transit taxes are paid. Temporary price control measures are also applicable in the poultry sector and the average customs duty levied on imports of meat products is 21.2% together with other duties and taxes. Between them, these taxes serve to cause a one third increase in the price of these products to the consumer. An average of 26% is imposed on the...