Submitted by the Minister of Industry and Trade for the approval of the government, in order to be tabled in Parliament with a view to its adoption, the preliminary draft decree n°2-22-30 announces important changes to the practice of trade and import-export operations. What changes does it bring, particularly in the current context of crisis?
The preliminary draft decree n°2-22-30, for the application of law n°91-14 relating to foreign trade, has recently been submitted for public comment. Supported by Ryad Mezzour, Minister of Industry and Trade, for government approval in order to be tabled in Parliament, the project announces major changes to the practice of trade and import-export operations, particularly in the current crisis situation.
As underlined in the presentation note, the draft decree aims to allow the implementation of the provisions of Law No. 91-14, relating to foreign trade, by setting in particular the procedures for registration and renewal of registration of importers and exporters in a register in which they must register. Note that, as required by Law No. 91-14, this formality will be the prerequisite for the exercise of their import-export activities.
The draft decree also aims to allow the implementation of the procedures for drawing up and adopting the specifications to which importers and exporters of certain categories of goods will be subject, as well as the procedures for monitoring compliance by operators concerned of the requirements of said specifications; the procedures for signing and issuing foreign trade documents, in particular the import undertaking, import and export licenses and customs exemptions.
Another novelty: the draft decree will allow the deployment of the methods for managing tariff quotas, as well as those relating to the protection of national production, and the methods for supervising the process of international trade negotiations.
In addition, the draft decree provides for the creation of two commissions within the government authority responsible for foreign trade, namely the advisory commission on imports responsible in particular for examining requests for tariff protection and in the form of quantitative restrictions as well as advise on all matters relating to imports.
The other commission that will see the light of day is the so-called “inter-ministerial coordination of international trade negotiations”. It will be responsible in particular for coordinating the drafting and adoption of the trade negotiation mandate and will give its opinion on all questions relating to international trade negotiations.
Each importer and exporter must appear in a central register and hold an identification number
Established and updated by the government authority responsible for foreign trade, the register of importers and exporters may be kept in electronic format, and will give the right to an identification number which must appear on all documents relating to these activities. Registrations and renewals of registration can also be done electronically, on the portal established for this purpose, by the department responsible for foreign trade.
The registration request must be accompanied by a file made up of documents, the list of which will be fixed by ministerial order, and submitted against receipt. If during the examination of the file, it is found that one or more documents are missing or non-compliant, the competent department will have a period of five working days, from the date of receipt of the request, to notify the applicant, by any means proving receipt, with the mention of the missing or non-compliant document(s).
After this period and in the absence of notice sent to the applicant, the file accompanying the application will be considered complete and compliant. For his part, the applicant has a period of thirty working days, from the date of receipt of the notice, to provide the requested documents. At the end of this period, if the documents requested are not provided, the request will be rejected, justified and notified to the person concerned, without delay. For complete and compliant files, the competent department will have a period of five working days to register the applicant in the Register by assigning him an identification number.
Notification of registration may be sent to the applicant by any means proving receipt, including electronically, within a period not exceeding five working days from the date of registration. Registration in the register of importers and exporters will be valid for two years, from the date of receipt of the notification, and may be renewed according to the same procedures as those provided for the initial registration.
Renewal of registration must be requested no later than three months before the expiry date of its period of validity. In the event of non-compliance with this deadline, the person concerned will be removed from the register on the date of expiry of the period of validity of his registration. However, the export and import operations initiated before the expiry date of the validity of the registration and not yet executed will remain valid until their accomplishments. It should be noted that any importer or exporter removed from this register may file a new application for registration.
Goods subject to specifications will be closely monitored
The specifications will be established in consultation with the most representative professional organizations concerned and after consulting the government authority responsible for foreign trade. Concretely, importers and exporters wishing to import or export goods subject to these specifications will have to file a declaration, including electronically, with the department responsible for foreign trade, at central or territorial level, against receipt.
In return, the competent department will have a period of five working days from the date of receipt of the declaration to enter the corresponding entries in the said declaration in the register of importers and exporters. In the event that it is found, following a check, that the declarant does not meet the requirements of the specifications, a notification will be sent to the department responsible for foreign trade, for the purpose of entering the corresponding entries in the register of importers and exporters.
In the event that the inspection is carried out on site, the notification will be accompanied by a copy of the related report. To be able to import or export these goods again, the interested party must prove that he meets the requirements of the specifications, and must submit, at his request, to a conformity check within thirty working days, from the date of receipt of the request.
The department in charge of foreign trade has a period of five working days from the date of receipt of the request to enter the corresponding entries in the register of importers and exporters. A notification of this registration is sent, without delay, including by electronic means, to the department responsible for the goods covered by the specification(s) as well as to the Customs and Excise Administration.
Protection of national production: The key role of the Advisory Committee on Imports
As indicated above, an advisory committee on imports will be set up with the government authority responsible for foreign trade. Its role will consist of examining applications for tariff protection and protection in the form of quantitative restrictions, giving its opinion on any question relating to imports referred to it by the government authority responsible for foreign trade and drawing up an annual report of its activities.
The Commission, which will be chaired by the Department of Foreign Trade, will be composed of the Department of the Interior, that of Finance, the authority in charge of competition and prices, the authority concerned with the goods or its representative, a representative customs and indirect taxes and a representative of the Federation of the professional chamber concerned by the goods subject of the request.
From the date of its referral by the Ministry of Foreign Trade, the Commission will have a period of thirty working days to give its opinion.
Provisions relating to requests for protection
Without prejudice to emergency situations, requests for tariff protection or protection in the form of a quantitative restriction, provided for in Article 19 of the aforementioned Law No. 91-14, are submitted to the government authority responsible for foreign trade, by the government authority responsible for the goods or by the operators concerned or their professional organisations.
Any request for tariff protection must be accompanied by documents justifying the existence of a general interest. For applications relating to protection in the form of quantitative restrictions, these must be accompanied by documents justifying that the goods for which protection is requested have not previously been subject to large-scale production.
Presentation of Law No. 91-14
While being part of the reinforcement of the liberalization of commercial exchanges of the Kingdom, the new law relating to foreign trade n°91-14 provides for a framework of imports and exports of goods and services able to achieve the protection of the national production, in particular agricultural products, and to ensure flow control.
To do this, it provides in particular for the registration of importers and exporters in a register established for this purpose, as a prerequisite for the exercise of an import-export activity; the possibility of subjecting the import and export of certain categories of goods to the respect, by the operators, of specifications, or even the protection of national production in the form of tariff barriers or quantitative restrictions.
The new Law No. 91-14 also sets general requirements aimed at framing the process of negotiating trade agreements with the Kingdom’s partners.
Modeste Kouamé / ECO Inspirations