Bloomberg News

Ivory Coast Keeps Cocoa Export Tax Below 22%, Document Shows

October 06, 2011

(Updates with IMF and World Bank reforms in third paragraph.)

Oct. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Export taxes on cocoa beans from Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest producer of the chocolate ingredient, won’t exceed 22 percent of the international price this season, meeting a commitment to the International Monetary Fund, according to a finance ministry document.

In the 2008-9 season taxes averaged 25.3 percent of international prices, the IMF said in a document posted on its website in November last year. While the country met the commitment in the season just ended, it had a change in government earlier this year.

The rate meets a demand by the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank to reform the Ivorian cocoa and coffee industries in order to comply with the terms of its Heavily Indebted Poor Countries’ debt-relief program. Last year, the fixed duty on cocoa beans was scrapped and replaced with a levy that varies with prices as part of the reforms that will make the country eligible for $3 billion in debt relief from the Washington-based lenders.

The document from the Abidjan-based ministry is dated Oct. 3 and applies to the 2011-12 harvest season, which began on Oct. 1. It was obtained by Bloomberg and hasn’t been publicly released. Norbert Komenan, an adviser to Finance Minister, Charles Koffi Diby, declined to comment when called today.

The main export tax has been maintained at 14.6 percent. There are a number of other charges. Cocoa traded at $2,648 a metric ton in New York as of 11:03 a.m. local time.

Disputed Election

Discussions of the reform strategy with the World Bank are expected to resume in coming months, the IMF said on its website in July, two months after Alassane Ouattara was sworn in as president following a violent five-month political crisis that was sparked by a disputed November election.

Cocoa and coffee exports were largely halted during that time, as Ouattara attempted to limit the flow of funds to Laurent Gbagbo, who refused to cede power despite losing the election. Businesses also shut their doors as customers stayed home and banks closed their branches amid the clashes. As many as 3,000 people were killed, according to the International Criminal Court, which is investigating crimes it says were committed by supporters of both leaders.

Ivory Coast’s economy may contract 5.8 percent this year before expanding 8.5 percent in 2012, the ministry said last month.

--With assistance from Olivier Monnier in Abidjan. Editors: Emily Bowers, Antony Sguazzin, Ben Holland

To contact the reporter on this story: Baudelaire Mieu in Abidjan at bmieu@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net


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