Democratic Republic of the Congo - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Barriers

Includes the barriers (tariff and non-tariff) that U.S. companies face when exporting to this country.

Last published date: 2021-10-11

As is the case in much of the Congolese economy, most of the country’s trade barriers result from complex regulations, a multiplicity of overlapping administrative agencies and a frequent lack of capacity and control by officials responsible for regulatory enforcement. The DRC has numerous agencies with legal authority in trade matters. Required signatures are often difficult to obtain, and regulations are complex and poorly codified. Application of regulations varies widely across the country. Corruption is endemic, and it is common for commercial matters to require protracted negotiations with numerous officials. Many laws are not fully or consistently implemented, particularly at the provincial level. Some are contradictory.  As a result, many local traders have their own private networks to expedite the movement of goods.

One significant trade barrier is the slow and confusing customs clearance process. With international assistance, the GDRC continues to work to implement various technical and legislative reforms to facilitate the movement of goods. The Guichet Unique Integral streamlines administrative procedures for import, export, transit and trans-shipment operations, and process data. The Guichet Unique Integral is intended to facilitate transactions between parties involved in foreign trade and transportation of goods by standardizing information and consolidating documents at a single point of entry in order to fulfill all formalities related to the import, export, transit, and trans-shipment of goods. The goal of the Guichet Unique Integral is to reduce fraud, increase the tax base, unify customs expenses, and improve the DRC’s business climate.

The Guichet Unique Integral for Foreign Trade is used to select, sort, and filter information provided by users related to the importation, exportation, and transit of goods. Once the information is gathered and compiled, the system sends it to the intended recipients (public and private operators) in a precise order and it is processed, returning a single invoice to the user detailing the taxes owed. The Guichet Unique Integral has offices in Kisangani, Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Boma, Goma, and Matadi.

The DRC’s General Directorate of Customs and Excise - ”Direction Générale des Douanes et Accises” (DGDA) has 27 customs offices representing more than 95 percent of the volume of transactions. Using SydoniaWorld software allows the direct collection of customs revenues, thus reducing fraud and increasing state revenue.