Unilateral Economic Relations
In December 2017, POTUS approved the reinstatement of The Gambia’s eligibility for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), effective January 1, 2018. After being selected by the Millennium Challenge Corporation to develop a threshold program in 2017, program development was paused in 2019 when The Gambia was downgraded to Tier 3 on the annual U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report. In 2022, the country returned to Tier 2 status. A number of U.S. citizens have set up small businesses in The Gambia and several U.S. brands companies such as Western Union, MoneyGram, UPS, and FedEx are represented in the country.
Bilateral Trade Agreements
Bilateral Trade Agreement Between The Gambia and Ethiopia
Signed on: 17th of January 2012
Validity: 5 Years from the date of signing. However, it is renewable after every 5 years.
Key areas of the Agreement:
The agreement covers the following areas:
- Trade promotion
- Trade fairs and exhibitions
- Elimination of tariff and nontariff barriers
- Sanitary and phytosanitary measures
- Dispute settlements.
Benefits to Businesses:
- Establishment of jointure venture enterprise
- Long term commercial contracts
- Non – discriminatory treatment as regards to application of quantitative restriction
- Facilitation of participation of trade fairs
Key requirements of the Agreement:
The following conditions must be fulfilled:
- The provisions of the agreement should be in accordance with national laws and regulations.
- No less than most-favored nation treatment in all matters relating to trade
Areas the Agreement does not cover:
The most favored nation treatment is not applicable to advantages which result from custom union or free trade area to which either of the contracting parties is a member.
Bilateral Trade Agreement Between The Gambia and Tunisia
Signed on: 21st June 2000
Validity: Currently Valid
Key Areas of the Agreement:
- Most-favored-nation treatment
- Trade promotion and missions
- Organizing of trade fairs and exibitions
- Exonomic Cooperation
Benefits to Businesses:
The contracting parties shall permit the import and export, free of customs duties, taxes and other similar levies or charges not related to the payment for services of the following:
- Samples of goods and publicity material required only for obtaining orders and for advertisement purposes, which are not for sale or are of no commercial value
- Goods imported temporarily for experiment and research activities
- Goods imported temporarily for the purpose of trade fairs and exhibitions.
- Goods imported temporarily for repairs, and which are re-exported
- Goods originating from a third world country and transported through the country of one of the Contracting Parties and destined for the other contracting party.
Key Requirements of the Agreement:
The following conditions must be fulfilled to take advantage of the favorable conditions the agreement provides:
Trade in goods and services between the territories of the contracting parties under this agreement shall be subject to the laws and regulations relating to imports and exports in force in their respective countries.
All payments between the contracting parties in pursuance of this agreement shall be affected in any freely convertible currency through normal banking channels in accordance with the foreign exchange laws and regulations in force in their respective countries
Areas the Agreement does not cover: The agreement specifies that the following are not covered by the present agreement:
- Most-favored-nation treatment either contracting party has granted or may grant to neighboring countries in order to facilitate cross-border trade and frontier traffic.
- Any advantage either contracting party may benefit from as a result of membership of a customs union, a free trade area or monetary zone already established, or which may be established.
- Any advantage contracting party may benefit from as a result of arrangements made for unconventional trade (barter, countertrade, etc.) with third world countries.
- Any advantage contracting party may benefit from as a result of participation in multilateral arrangements aimed at economic integration.
Regional/Multilateral Trade Agreements
The Gambia is a member of the World Trade Organization and ECOWAS and has bilateral agreements with a number of its trading partners. The Gambia therefore benefits from non-reciprocal duty-free preferential treatment from many industrialized countries under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP), and related schemes like the European Union’s Everything but Arms (EBA) Initiative. Exports from The Gambia can therefore access these markets at preferential duty rates. Domestically produced products that meet the requirements of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) can also access the markets of the other fourteen ECOWAS member states duty-free and quota-free. The Gambian products can access the following markets at preferential duty rates:
The ECOWAS Market
The ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) for industrial products originating from Member States of the Community entered into force on 1 January 1990. The objective of the scheme is to improve intra-ECOWAS trade by removing import duties and taxes on industrial products that qualify under the scheme.
The ECOWAS member states are implementing the ECOWAS ETLS. Gambian registered companies that meet any of the following criteria will be eligible for export of industrial products to the ECOWAS market under the ETLS:
1. Industrial products whose raw material wholly originate from ECOWAS Member States
2. Industrial products for which at least 60% of the raw material comes from the ECOWAS member states
3. Industrial products whose raw materials from the ECOWAS region is less than 60% or whose raw materials are wholly from outside the ECOWAS region but have a value-added of at least 30% of the ex-factory price.
The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
The Gambia is a ratifying member of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area. This agreement, which came into effect in January of 2021, creates a free trade area between the signatory states. It is the largest free trade area by number of states since the launch of the World Trade Organization in 1995. The agreement covers trade in goods and services, investment, intellectual property rights, and competition policy. Brokered by the African Union, the agreement was signed by 54 states in total, and has been ratified by 44 states. The agreement creates a market of more than 1.3 billion people and a combined GDP of 2.6 trillion USD.Phase 1 of the agreement includes the Protocol on Trade in Goods, Protocol on Trade in Services and Protocol on Rules and Procedures on the Settlement of Disputes as well as their related annexes. Meanwhile, Phase 2 of the Agreement includes the Protocol on Competition Policy, Protocol on Investment and Protocol on Intellectual Property Rights. The agreement aims to broadly liberalize trade between signatories.