Understanding COMESA

Established in 1994, COMESA (Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa) is an international organization with a regional focus in East Africa; of which nineteen (19) States are members: Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sudan, Swaziland, Zambia, Zimbabwe. See this file

Following the launch of the Free Trade Area (FTA) on October 31, 2000, intra-regional trade increased more than six times, from 3.1 to 18.8 billion in 2011. This growth has Member States to actively apply the FTA.

Comoros has signed with the FTA since 2006. In 2012, a Bureau of Origin which is in charge of monitoring and coordinating the COMESA file. The bureau is set up within the General Directorate of Customs and From now on, goods imported from COMESA member countries will benefit from the Preferential Tariff on the basis of reciprocity when these goods meet the original criteria adopted by the COMESA FTA countries (see Decision No. 12-061 / VP / MFEBICEP / DGD of August 28, 2012, in PDF file).

The Common External Tariff (CET) rates for the future customs union are set according to a tariff structure of: 0% for raw materials, 0% for capital goods, 10% for intermediate products and 25% for products. finished. For the 0% rate, all FTA member countries apply it except Eritrea, Swaziland and South Sudan.

A list of sensitive products (see the list, in PDF file), excluded from the Preferential Tariff is proposed by the Comorian side.

Therefore, a Certificate of Origin is intended to obtain within COMESA (see a front-end model of the Certificate, in PDF file), a preferential treatment (lowering or deletion) on customs duties and taxes having equivalent effect on goods imported or exported by the above-mentioned member countries.

The Certificate of Origin is proof of the status of "originating products", eligible for preferential treatment among COMESA member countries (see Protocol on Rules of Origin for Commodities Exchange between Common Market Member States, in PDF format )


The declarations and information made by the exporter shall be supported by documents proving the origin and dispatch of the goods to be treated as tariffs. The signature of the exporter incurs his responsibility vis-à-vis the Customs and third parties; the production of false documents is punishable by fines.
After verification of use, the Certificate provided by the exporter must be endorsed by the Authorized Customs Services of his country. In Comoros, the office of origin is competent.


The importer of the goods or his representative must present to the customs authorities of his country the Certificate of origin to benefit from the preferential tariffs required.

Therefore, the customs services carry out an admissibility check and the applicability of the Certificate to goods declared to customs. The main criteria of origin COMESA:
Rules of Origin is a verification procedure that determines whether products traded between FTA member countries are eligible for preferential treatment. • Goods are wholly produced: there are goods that do not contain items imported outside COMESA or that have been wholly cultivated, or extracted from the soil, or harvested within COMESA member countries.

Example: Mineral products extracted from the soil or the sea; -Animal living high, hunted or fished; - Vegetable products; -Waste from agricultural factories; -Goods made entirely from local products.

• Goods for which the C.A.F value of non-originating imported products used in production is less than or equal to 60% of the total cost of the materials used to manufacture them.

These are COMESA non-COMESA imported and non-COMESA non-COMESA materials.

• Goods whose value added (VA) resulting from manufacturing procedures is 45% or more of the Factory Ex-works Price (UDP).

VA = PDU- CIF value of non-originating products used in production

• Or the products that are of particular importance to the economic development of the region, the required added value can be reduced to 25%.

The General Directorate of Customs, through the Office of origin, complies with the directives of COMESA and the Comorian Government and also takes into account the recommendations of its national and international partners, within the framework of the applicability of the rules of origin