The Gambia enjoys duty-free and quota-free access to the European market under the Everything But Arms arrangements.The Gambia was ranked 132th out of 189 countries in the World Bank's Doing Business 2016 report. The EU is a significant trading and economic partner to The Gambia. Important importable items of the country are food items (such as rice), fuel, machines and manufacturing. For imports The Gambia depends mainly upon the countries such as China, France, Netherlands, and Senegal. Major exportable items of The Gambia are fish, nuts, and cotton. Its main exports partners are China, India, United Kingdom, France and Spain. Provisional data shows that the value of external trade of The Gambia for the year 2016 amounted to approximately 95 mio € of total exports and 861 mio € of total imports. The trade balance with the rest of the world was -766 mio € in 2016.
The Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) project permitted to build the capacity of trade-related institutions to deal effectively and efficiently with trade policy development and implementation, trade integration and facilitation. The project supported Aid for Trade (AfT) programmes, and the implementation of the National Export Strategy (NES) and of the Medium Term Programme (MTP). It also strengthened targeted sectors' competitiveness (cashew nuts, groundnuts and sesame) and logistics infrastructure and services at Banjul International Airport.
The Gambia benefited from numerous "Better Training for Safer Food" (BTSF) training programmes, covering a range of subjects related to the verification of compliance with food and feed law, animal health and welfare and plant health rules. The programme EDES also assisted the fishery sector in The Gambia to comply with the EU import requirements. EDES permitted to improve the performance of sanitary audits/inspections in the fishery sector, in conformity with the relevant international standards, and to prepare a residue control plan for the aquaculture sector and a national environment monitoring plan for fishery products.
The EU is convinced that international trade has a vital role to play in long-term economic growth and development. The EU also believes that The Gambia's economy could benefit from further integration of the Western African economies and from the gradual liberalisation of trade under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) EPA aims to gradually transform the relationship between the region and the EU from one of dependency to one of reciprocity, and to establish a trade relationship compatible with World Trade Organisation rules.
Imports & Exports
The main products imported into The Gambia from the EU include motor cars and vehicles, medicines, edible oil and sugar. The United Kingdom, Germany, the Netherlands and Spain are the primary sources. The main products exported to the EU include groundnuts, fish and fishery products, and animal and vegetable fats and oils, the majority of which goes to the United Kingdom and the Netherlands.
To help developing countries like The Gambia access the EU market, the European Commission has set up a free, user-friendly online service, the Export Helpdesk, which provides relevant information for exporters interested in supplying the EU market. The Export Helpdesk also provides advice on EU import procedures, VAT rules, and rules on excise duties.