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Annual Joint Workshop with Customs Commission Held

Posted in Advocacy

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On February 23, 2023, the European Union Business Forum in Ethiopia (EUBFE) held a joint workshop with the Ethiopian Customs Commission (ECC), together with its member associations, ENLBA and CAFÉ to address the concerns and issues raised by its members companies.

The workshop addressed key 
issues raised by member companies in the areas of valuation, classification, Franco Valuta, and the Ethiopian Single Window system. The various directors representing different directorates of the ECC addressed these issues and highlighted their ongoing efforts to improve their services. Participants were encouraged to provide feedback and opinions, ensuring an effective and collaborative consultation.The Q&A session at the end allowed participants to gain further clarity on the topics discussed. This joint workshop is an extension of EUBFE’s effort to support dialogue and engagement between key players in the investment climate and member companies with the aim of creating a thriving business climate Ethiopia.


EUBFE Launched Two Policy Briefs on the Occasion of Signing of MoU

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EU Business Forum in Ethiopia launched two policy briefs on the same occasion that saw it sign a memorandum of understanding with Ministry of Industry in the presence of HE Hassen Moalin-State Minister on January 30, 2023. Also in attendance were HE Semereta Sewasew State Minister of Finance, HE Lelise Neme- Commissioner, Ethiopian Investment Commission, HE Roland Kobia, Ambassador of EU to Ethiopia and HE Temesgen Tilahun-EIC Deputy Commissioner. The event attracted more than one hundered twenty guests from member state embassies, various ministries, development partners, sister associations as well as all members of EUBFE and its member associations. 
The two policy brief entitled: " Sourcing from the Source-Utilizing FDI to Tackle Ethiopia's FDI Challenge" analyzes the potential for local sourcing as a solution to the foreign exchange conundrum. The second policy brief "Accelerating Ethiopia's Transformation-Rethinking the Strategic Role of mid-to-small Scale FDI" advocates for strategy for positioning mid-to-small scale FDI within the development strategy of Ethiopia and enact investment promotion and facilitation accordingly. The recommendations made in the policy briefs will be the basis for engagement between EUBFE and the various government agencies in the coming months. Full content of the policy briefs can be downloaded via links below.

EUBFE took part in briefing on investment safety organized by EIC and Ministry of Peace

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EUBFE took part in security briefing in connection with the national elections along side its member bilateral associations-the CAFE and ENLBA, as well as other prominent FDI associations. The briefing was led by Mrs. Frealem Shibabaw, state minister of law enforcement at MoF, Commissioner of EIC Ms Lelise Neme and Deputy Commissioner of EIC Temesgen Tilahun.
MoP briefed investors on the general preparation on security pre and post election. Following this session, dedicated emergency contact numbers were disseminated via EUBFE to all members to report any incidents they deem unsafe.

E-visa goes online

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As of July 2, 2018 all visa applications can be made online. This is among the biggest success of public-private-dialogue conducted between the EUBFE and relevant authorities back in November 2017, in which EUBFE strongly lobbied for a more flexible and automated visa system. You may access online visa via

Comprehensive immigration directives for foreign investors

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In March 2016, the EU Delegation to Ethiopia and the EUBFE sent a joint letter to H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, regarding concerns expressed by EUBFE members in obtaining appropriate immigration documents in order to be able to operate effectively in Ethiopia.

The EU business community is committed to support the effective implementation of the Ethiopian GTP II notably with regards to job creation, increased FDI, skills and technology transfers and improved linkages between foreign and domestic business communities. In order to do so, an immigration policy that is conducive to the effective operation of the foreign business community is necessary.

In this context, and in a spirit of dialogue and partnership, the EU business community would welcome more transparency on the matter at hand with a view to bolster EU investments in support of GTP II objectives.

Weight limit on containers imposed by the Maritime Affairs Authority - A happy End

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In close cooperation with the ENLBA (The Ethiopia-Netherlands Business Association), the EU Delegation and the EUBFE, sent a letter to the Ethiopian Authorities to explain the difficulties encountered by the EU
business community due to suddenly imposed weight limit on containers as instructed by the Ethiopian Ministry of Transport – Maritime Affairs Authority and the negative impact of this new provision on the
The “temporary work rule”, passed on August 12 th, 2013, determined the weight of imported goods in a single container to a maximum of 20 tonnes for 20-foot container. This led to a sudden increase in cost of transportation and consequently an increase in cost of imported raw materials, between 5-30%. 
Following the letter issued by EU Delegation and the EU Business Forum, and subsequent informal consultations held with the Ministry of Transport, the Government of Ethiopia eventually decided to lift the weight limit.

Comments on the revised customs law

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On October 28th, 2013, the Ethiopian Revenue and Customs Authority (ERCA) organised a meeting to gather  ERCA management and some key  foreign business communities, including EUBFE supported by the EU Delegation, to discuss the general customs operations and the draft Revised Customs Law. Following the meeting, EUBFE was invited to query its members and come back with structured and practical comments to the draft that would be used by ERCA to improve its drafting.
Thanks to your prompt feedback, we prepared and sent detailed and practical comments on the draft law. 
To sum up: we support the positive amendments brought by the new draft, such as self-assessment procedure and post transaction audit, electronic filing, administrative fines of some infractions (vs. automatic criminal penalties), early release of goods, training as well as the simplified customs procedures. 
However, from your experiences, constructive comments were made on the definitions within the law, the online publication of the regulations, the insertion of principle of non-retroactivity, the operations and handling of containers, spare parts imports, goods release, the Authorised Economic Operators (AEOs), the appeal and complaints handling, HS codes and tax rates, the valuation, or even the electronic filing.
We hope these will be taken into consideration by ERCA. We will follow up on this on the occasion of the next meeting with ERCA

Licensing issues: Discussions with H.E. The Deputy Prime Minister

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The EUBFE, together with the EU Delegation, expressed in a letter dated November 26th, 2013, some of its concerns regarding the unexpected difficulties and obstacles many of our membersencountered last year in renewing their business registration and licensing and asked for a meeting to discuss these concerns.
As a follow up to the letter, on December 23 rd, the EU Ambassador – H.E. Ms Chantal Hebberecht - met the Deputy Prime Minister, H.E.Debretsion Gebremichael. The Deputy Prime Minister was very appreciative of the letter and the communication of concerns expressed by the EUBFE, as this helps the Government of Ethiopia to “provide better services”. It confirmed the general impression that often these types of issues and messages are not well-communicated upwards and that there is a real added value in organising a structured dialogue, opening a channel of communication between the EU businesses as a community and the highest levels of the Ethiopian administration. 
Amid various matters raised during the meeting, the Deputy Prime Minister confirmed the existence of a special window at the Ministry of Trade for the largest investors, which despite not being advertised, exists.He also offered assistance in looking into open cases for renewal of licenses for the EU business community
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