Tariffs & Quotas

Applied MFN tariffs

The Gambia applies the ECOWAS Common Customs Tariff, which is based on that originally applied by WAEMU/UEOMA. The tariff currently comprises four rates: zero, 5%, 10%, and 20%. The ECOWAS member states are negotiating the introduction of a fifth band, at 35%, based on harmonization of national lists submitted by members, and of national exceptions to the ECOWAS common tariff. With the adoption of its fifth band and the national exceptions, the common tariff will show a classic pattern of escalation and is likely to provide higher effective than nominal protection to goods classed as "consumer goods" and "economic development goods". The tariff classification will consist of: Category 0: basic social goods (zero rated); Category 1: basic needs, raw material, capital equipment, and specific inputs (rate 5%); Category 2: inputs and intermediate products (rate 10%); Category 3: final consumer goods and other products n.e.s. (rate 20%); and Category 4: specific goods for economic development (rate 35%).
 
The Gambia has submitted two national lists to ECOWAS under the negotiating process: the first is for products that it wishes to be included in Category 4 and taxed at 35%, and the second is "List B" of national products on which The Gambia wishes lower rates than the common tariff to be applied, as inputs to agriculture, fisheries or other industries, or as basic food needs for the population.

Tariff bindings

Bound tariffs in The Gambia's WTO schedule cover 708 HS six-digit items, covering 13.8% of all tariff lines, according to the WTO tariff database. In addition to products covered by the Agreement on Agriculture, all of which are required to be bound, The Gambia has bound tariffs on gemstones (HS 7102, 7103), silver waste and scrap, other goldsmiths' and silversmiths' wares (HS ex 7112.90, 7114), and motor vehicles (HS 8702, 8703). Most bound tariffs are fixed at a ceiling rate of 110%, although a number of lines in other HS Chapters are fully or partially bound at rates from 20% to 85%.
 
In practice, the ECOWAS common external tariff is effectively the "bound" tariff for The Gambia, as it is a legal commitment, within the framework of its regional agreement, to apply these rates on an MFN basis.

Tariff exemptions, concessions, and suspensions

Duty and tax exemptions are contained in the Third Schedule to the Customs and Excise Act. Part A includes goods for use by the President, the armed forces, Commonwealth and other governments, certain goods imported under diplomatic privileges or by aid agencies, by the African Development Bank for official use, bona fide gifts to charitable institutions, consumables imported for use in religious services, materials and equipment for use by or for disabled, blind or physically handicapped persons, badges and record books for the President's Award Scheme, goods for the Desert Locust and Red Locust Control Organizations, goods for military canteen organizations, equipment, drugs and motor vehicles for the Medical Research Council, passenger cars imported by military and police personnel returning from peace-keeping duties outside The Gambia, rewards and prizes obtained by Gambian sports-men and -women, and equipment and parts for the rehabilitation of power-generating plant imported before 2003.

Part B (General Exemption) includes operations-related goods for aircraft operations by designated airlines, containers and pallets, effects of deceased persons, fish, crustaceans and molluscs landed by Gambian canoes or vessels, life-saving marine apparatus, passengers' baggage in general, protective clothing and equipment, samples, ships and other vessels, goods for national museums, seeds for sowing, breeding animals, semen and fish ova, raw materials for manufacture of medicaments, plastic sheetings for agri-, flori- or horticultural use, hatching eggs, power generating equipment, chemical fertilizers, medical hygienic bags, and ship-loading equipment. Currently, the exemption for import of empty containers may be particularly significant in view of the growing export of mineral sands.

Part C (Special Duty Rate) specifies that capital goods, plant and machinery for investment, with written approval of the Minister, as well as cold-storage equipment and refrigerated-goods transport vehicles imported by farmers, with the written approval of the Director of Agriculture, are importable duty free.

The Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs may also remit any duty, in whole or in part, if he finds it is in the public interest to do so, on goods imported by registered non-profit institutions approved by the Government; raw materials for use in the manufacture of insecticides, fungicides, and similar products; component parts used in the manufacture of agricultural and horticultural equipment; capital equipment and machinery imported for use in licensed customs bonded factories for export; goods imported by oil exploration companies in accordance with the Petroleum Act 2004; and goods for official-aid-funded projects.

Duty suspensions

The Second Schedule to the 2010 Customs and Excise Act allows for the Minister to suspend import duties on refined petroleum products. Currently these duties are not suspended and the products bear a duty of 20%, apart from aircraft fuels, which are zero-rated.

Bilateral tariff preferences

The 2010 Customs and Excise Act provides for arrangements to be made between The Gambia and another government with respect to the mutual relief of duty.
Other duties and charges: The Gambia applies a processing fee of 1.55% and a 0.5% ECOWAS levy on the c.i.f. value of all imports. It has bound "other duties and charges" on its WTO bound tariff lines at 10%.

Excise duties, excise taxes, and environmental taxes

Excise duties are charged on either the retail sales price or the price at which goods are sold on between manufacturers. Rates are applied on: fruit juices and other non-alcoholic beverages (at 5%); wines (10%) and spirits (15%); cigarettes and refined petroleum products (10%); precious metals and articles thereof (5%); and motor vehicles, and a few other products including nails and soap (at 5%). Mobile phone services bear an excise tax of 10%, based on the price charged between non-related buyers and sellers. In addition to the schedule of excise duties, excise taxes are charged at specific rates on a number of items. Imported soft drinks and imported beer are subject to higher rates than the corresponding domestic items. In addition, The Gambia imposes an environmental tax on unmanufactured tobacco at D75/kg; tobacco products at D10/kg; and used vehicles at D1,000 per unit.

Sales tax

The Gambia imposes sales tax on goods and services, including imports. The general rate is set at 15%; however, refined petroleum products are taxed at 10%, and telecommunications services at 18%. The value of imported goods for sales tax purposes is the value including all duties and charges paid on import into The Gambia, and including the value of any incidental services such as packaging, insurance, transportation, guarantee costs or any other services giving rise to commission. Registered manufacturers are allowed input tax credits for the sales tax payable on capital goods (plant or equipment, but not motor vehicles), or goods used in manufacturing taxable products.

Temporary duties

The Gambia levies additional import duties on onions and potatoes during the harvesting season in order to protect local producers.
Under anti-dumping and countervailing provisions contained in the 2010 Customs and Excise Act, the Minister establishes an advisory committee of not more than ten persons to investigate cases of dumping or subsidization of goods exported to The Gambia. Provisional measures may be taken 60 days after the start of any investigation. If the Minister is satisfied that goods are dumped, or that governmental or public subsidies are being given, and that this causes or threatens material injury to an established industry in The Gambia, or retards materially the establishment of an industry, he may accept an exporter's offer of an increase in price to the extent of the dumping margin or subsidy, or impose an anti-dumping or countervailing duty, which should not exceed the dumping margin or subsidy found to exist.
 
Provision is made in Sections 171-172 of the Act for anti-dumping or countervailing duties to be based on: the difference between a domestic reference price (DRP) (i.e. minimum buying or guaranteed price from domestic producers, as declared every three months by the Minister of Trade) and an import reference price (average quoted price at a major international marketing centre for the goods), or between the DRP and zero; plus freight, insurance, handling and wharfage charges, clearing and forwarding charges (standardized at 1% of c.i.f. value), and pre-shipment inspection fees of 2% of f.o.b. value.
 
The Gambia does not maintain any anti-dumping or countervailing duties at present. Under Section 163 of the Act, the Minister may also impose on any goods imported into The Gambia "such conditions or rates of duty as he may deem necessary to protect The Gambia's interest where the country of importation practices unfair or restrictive trade practices on Gambian goods exported to that country". No definition is given of what may be considered "unfair or restrictive" trade practices, nor are any time limits specified.

The Gambia maintains no safeguard measures at present.

The Gambia maintains no specific quotas on any imports. Imports of the following goods are conditionally restricted: tear gas and similar substances, and their propellants, other than permitted by the Minister of Interior; alcoholic spirits, unless certified as aged in wood for at least three years (however, no certificate is needed for bitters, liqueurs, cordials, gin, Geneva, hollands schnapps, rum, or spirits imported for medical, industrial or scientific purposes); postal franking machines, except as permitted by GAMPOST; Boy Scout or Girl Guide badges, except under permission of the relevant Commissioner; firearms silencers, except as permitted by the Minister of Interior; precious metals from Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea Conakry, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Niger, Mauritania, Cape Verde, except under permit from the Minister of Finance; used motor vehicles, except with official certificate of roadworthiness; machines for duplicating keys; handcuffs, except under licence by the Minister of Interior; live fish not native to The Gambia, except under licence by the Minister of Fisheries; and any goods prohibited under the terms of any international convention to which The Gambia is a signatory.