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Main policy areas


Tariff escalation

  • Cocoa producing countries limit themselves to mainly exporting beans -rather than manufactured cocoa, or chocolate products- mostly because of tariff escalation. The EU has a bound rate of 0 percent for cocoa beans, but a 7.7 percent, and 15 percent ad valorem duty on cocoa powder and chocolate crumb containing cocoa butter respectively;
  • Similarly, Japan applies a bound rate of 0 percent for un-processed cocoa beans, but charges a 10 percent tax for cocoa paste wholly or partly defatted, and a 29.8 percent duty on cocoa powder containing added sugar;
  • The US has no ad valorem on cocoa beans, but imposes a duty of 0.52 cents/Kg for cocoa powder -with no added sugar- and tariffs could go up to 52.8 cents/Kg for imported chocolate products containing cocoa butter.


  • Generally speaking, the average tariff on cocoa products is lower than the overall average agricultural tariff for developed countries. Developing nations, however, impose higher tariffs on cocoa products. For example, India charges a 35 percent duty on cocoa beans roasted or not. Similarly Egypt and Brazil have a tax duty of 20 percent and 12.5 percent respectively;
  • Developing countries viewpoint: tariffs applied by developed countries generally do not overly penalise developing countries; developing countries themselves were free to increasingly restrict importation thanks to high bound rates; developing country import policies generally aim at enabling the sector to fully develop its production and processing potential; developing countries could benefit from improved market access for processed products.

Amber box

  • Cocoa exporting countries have liberalized their cocoa industry through the dismantling of national marketing boards. Prices are now determined by market forces.

State trading enterprises

  • Most state trading enterprises have made room for private exporting entities.

Export restrictions and prohibitions

  • In the sector, the need to assist the development of processed product industries in developing countries is real and could justify the use of such measures in those countries. Côte d'Ivoire has lowered its fixed export tax on cocoa from 150 CFA/kg to 125 CFA/kg in 1999.

Food security

  • Cocoa prices have been declining for the last three years, affecting export for exporting countries and their ability to import food to meet their nutritional requirements.

Food safety

  • Quite significant for the sector: contamination, toxic residues, quality of exported beans, use of molecular biology to improve cocoa production, regulatory procedures at the processing level in developing countries, shipping and storage of cocoa beans.

Rural development

  • Very critical as most of rural cocoa beans producers rely on export earnings for their livelihood. Cocoa earnings also contribute to rural infrastructure development, roads, storage facilities, schools, hospitals, first-stage processing firms.

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