Republic of the Congo Trade

Subchapters:

  • Business Relationships
  • Foreign direct investment
  • FTAs ​​and Treaties
  • Development Cooperation
  • Prospective fields of study (MOP)

Business relations

Trade relations with the EU

The EU is one of the most important trading partners and at the same time one of the most important donors of development aid.

In 2020, EU countries’ imports from the Republic of Congo amounted to EUR 842 million and exports to EUR 589 million.

In 2021, EU countries imported goods worth EUR 704 million and exported goods worth EUR 709 million from the Republic of Congo, resulting in an increase in exports and a long-term negative balance.

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Exports from the EU (million EUR) 738.7 697.6 667.4 589.9 709.2
Imports into the EU (million EUR) 1000.20 815.6 839.4 842.4 704.3
Balance with the EU (million EUR) 261.6 118 172 252.5 -4.9

Source: European Commission

Trade relations with the Czech Republic

The Czech Republic is perceived as a traditional partner and a friendly country that does not take advantage of opportunities. In 2017 (October), a project to support economic diplomacy (PROPED) took place – an incoming mission of representatives of the agricultural sector to the Czech Republic. In March 2018, another Czech Defense Industry Day was held in the Republic of Congo focused on the area of ​​the defense and security industry. The aim of these projects is to introduce sector companies and entrepreneurs to each other and to establish bilateral B2B or G2B cooperation. In trade relations with the Congo, Czech exports are helped by the presence of the honorary consul of the Czech Republic in Brazzaville, who is a businessman himself.

The main imported commodities were raw and profiled tropical wood, coffee and wooden furniture. Gas turbines, processor units, soil sorting machines, used clothing, electrical insulation paper and oatmeal were mainly exported.

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Exports from the Czech Republic (billion CZK) 0 0.1 0.2 0.1 0
Imports to the Czech Republic (billion CZK) 0 0 0 0 0
Balance with the Czech Republic (billion CZK) 0 0 -0.2 -0.1 0

Source: businesscarriers.com

Trade relations with countries outside the EU

In addition to France, Congo’s largest trading partners include China, the United States of America and Italy. China is the largest exporter of goods to the Congo. China and the United States are the largest importers of Congolese goods, mostly petroleum products.

2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Exports from countries outside the EU (million EUR) 4,422.5 7 133.5 6,374.9 4,692.9 5,488.2
Imports to countries outside the EU (million EUR) 3,211.0 4,288.6 3,332.6 2,793.5 3,402.6
Balance with non-EU countries (million EUR) 1,211.5 2,844.9 3,042.3 1,899.4 2,085.6

Source: EIU, Eurostat

Foreign direct investment

The Congolese government welcomes FDI in most sectors and especially in the oil sector, which accounts for 90 percent of FDI inflows. The government said there was an urgent need to attract investment from outside the oil sector. In conjunction with the International Monetary Fund’s extended credit facility granted in July 2019, the Republic of Congo has committed to legislative, regulatory and institutional reforms to improve the investment climate.

Foreign direct investment flows to the Republic of Congo have been increasing regularly in recent years. Like many countries in the region, Congo is rich in oil and other raw materials and is largely affected by the decline in world prices for natural resources. According to the UNCTAD World Investment Report 2021, foreign direct investment inflows increased by 19% between 2019 and 2020, from US$billion to US$4 billion, despite the global health and economic crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2020, the volume of foreign direct investment was estimated at 33 billion USD.

There are no FDI from the Czech Republic yet.

FTAs and treaties

Treaties with the EU

Post-Cotonou Partnership Agreement: signed in April 2021 as a continuation of the agreement between the EU and African countries. It regulates, among other things, economic relations and development issues.

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs): The EU is one of the most important donors of foreign development aid and an important trade partner in the region. Congo has not yet signed the agreement, but benefits from free access to the EU market.

Contracts with the Czech Republic

Agreement on cultural cooperation between the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic and the Republic of the Congo / Brazzaville/, Brazzaville, 29 November 1966, No. 64/1967 Coll.

There are currently no valid agreements in the economic field between the Czech Republic and the Republic of Congo. Since the entry of the Czech Republic into the EU, economic relations have been regulated by the common policy of the EU.

Developmental cooperation

Within the framework of the 11th EDF (2013-2020), EUR 103 million of aid was provided to improve the business and business environment (including the facilitation of customs procedures) and to support local self-government.

No foreign aid has been provided from the Czech Republic in recent years.

Prospective fields of study (MOP)

The Congolese market is small and the purchasing power of the majority of the population is low. The exporter should focus on the entire CEMAC area. On the other hand, the share of domestic production is very low, almost all goods are imported to the Congo. Despite the still strong French influence and rapidly growing Chinese competition, there is still room for Czech goods to be used on the market. Prospective items for export include especially those products that meet the “Le chemin d’avenir” strategy. Currently, these mainly include food commodities and technological equipment for the food industry (bakeries, mills, fruit and vegetable processing). There could also be considerable interest from the Congolese side in tractors and other agricultural machinery for private farmers, including supplies of fertilizers and chemicals against pests.

In the near future, a program to expand sea and river fishing and freshwater fish breeding (fish processing technology, freezing operations, etc.) will offer great potential. The most promising sectors are still the oil and mining sector (diamonds, ores) and the sector of processed wood. The development of mining, especially of newly discovered iron ore reserves, is expected. The use of these reserves will require the supply of mining technologies and relevant means of transport. Congo invests in the development of infrastructure – construction machinery, airport equipment, residential buildings, hospitals, equipment for hydroelectric power stations, small hydroelectric power stations, but also renewable sources of electricity (solar…) that can be connected off-grid are promising from this point of view. Congo has large reserves of usable timber. The Congolese government is restricting the export of unprocessed wood and logs, opening up space for companies that will be able to supply equipment/invest in large capacity sawmills and wood processing lines. The Congolese light industry will have considerable potential for the entry of foreign companies if the current high costs of energy and transport infrastructure can be reduced. The tourism industry has great potential. The offer of subcontracting for foreign companies operating in the Congo could also be successful. Congo also offers a promising market for, for example, Czech small transport aircraft, as well as an ever-growing market for telecommunications equipment and services.

The country needs investment in basically all sectors of the economy.

Prospective areas for investment are:

  • geological exploration and use of new deposits of raw materials
  • production of building materials
  • energy (including non-traditional energy sources)
  • logging and wood processing
  • sea fishing and freshwater fish farming
  • processing of agricultural products
  • agriculture (including cultivation of technical crops)
  • production of flour and pasta
  • production of beverages (including microbreweries)
  • services (telecommunications, banking)
  • hotel industry and tourism

Republic of the Congo Trade