From: OVERSEAS BUSINESS REPORTS (GABON)
University of Missouri-St. Louis
Match 4 DB Rec# - 21,747 Dataset-MARKET
Source : USDOC, International Trade Administration
Source key :IT
Program key :IT MARKET
Program :Market Research Reports
Update sched. :Monthly
ID number :IT MARKET 111099820
Title :GABON - OVERSEAS BUSINESS REPORT - OBR9109
Data type :TEXT
End year :1993
Date of record:07/20/1993
Keywords 1 :
| AFRICA, NEAR EAST AND SOUTH ASIA
| ORGANIZATION OF PETROLEUM EXPORTING COUNTRIES
| SUB SAHARA AFRICAN COUNTRIES
| SUB SAHARA AFRICAN GROUP
| SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA
GABON - OVERSEAS BUSINESS REPORT - OBR9109
This article is derived from a report dated September 1991, prepared at the
U.S. Department of Commerce - Washington, DC. The article consists of 29
pages and discusses the economic and commercial climate in Gabon, with
emphasis on information useful for potential U.S. sellers and investors. It
includes the following sections:
The Gabonese Market
Overview -- Structural Adjustment -- Government Budget
Petroleum -- Forestry -- Mining -- Agriculture --
Fisheries and Livestock -- Manufacturing -- Utilities --
Communications -- Transportation
General Information -- Duties and Taxes on Imports --
Shipping Customs Provisions
Selling in Gabon
Distribution Centers -- Forms of Representation --
Government Procurement -- Market Research and Trade Organizations --
Banking and Credit
Banking System and Currency -- Financing U.S. Exports
and Investment -- Methods of Payment
Foreign Investment -- Government Policy on Foreign
Investment -- Business Organization -- Taxation --
Industrial Property and Copyright Protection
Guidance for the Business Traveler
Correspondence and Communications -- Entrance
Requirements -- Hotels -- Tipping -- Health Precautions
Economic and Commercial Contacts
Diplomatic Representation -- Embassies in Libreville --
International Organizations -- Government Offices --
THE GABONESE MARKET
Gabon, with its small population and substantial oil reserves, has long been
one of Sub-Saharan Africa's richest countries. Per capita gross domestic
product (GDP) in 1989 was approximately $3,900, putting Gabon roughly on a
par with Portugal. Increased production from the newly developed
Rabi-Kounga oil field has given an important boost to the Gabonese economy.
Gabon's GDP increased by an impressive 13 percent in 1990.
Export prospects for Gabon remain most favorable in the dominant petroleum
sector. Various types of drilling equipment -- including boring and sinking
machinery, casing for oil and gas drills, parts for derricks, pit-head
winding gear, and line pipe for oil -- accounted for the lion's share of
U.S. exports to Gabon in 1990. Total American sales of oil-related items
topped $26 million last year. Exploration and production should see
continued expansion throughout 1991, creating new possibilities for equipment
Gabon also represents a significant market for other goods. For example,
Gabon must meet a major part of its food requirements through imports, and
the country spent over $100 million on food purchases last year alone. Thus
far, U.S. exporters have been slow to penetrate this market, but U.S. food
exports are growing. Sales of American wheat to Gabon nearly doubled in
1990 to over $1 million. Gabon also imports hundreds of millions of dollars
worth of consumer goods, chemical products, paper products, metals,
plastics, and machinery. Aggressive American firms willing to establish
long-term contacts through French-speaking representa- tives are most likely
to capture a share of the market for these items.
Gabon offers reasonably good long-term potential to U.S. exporters not only
because of its oil wealth but also because of its mineral and forestry
resources. Government commitment to large-scale agricultural development
and road construction programs should also create additional opportunities
for U.S. exporters.
Blessed with oil wealth, Gabon escaped many of the financial pressures
experienced by developing countries for the first two and a half decades of
independence. Then, a sharp fall in oil prices in 1985 touched off a
financial crisis which has yet to be resolved. As the government attempted
to maintain expenditures through what was assumed to be a "trough" in
receipts, foreign debt grew from a relatively modest 62.9 percent of GDP in
1980 to over 108 percent in 1989. At the same time, the government turned
to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank for assistance
in restructuring its economy.
The analysis of the Gabonese economy's structural weaknesses made then
called for improved management of public sector finances, reductions in
public investment expenditures, restructuring of the parastatal enterprises,
and reduction in public and para-public wage and compensation packages.
Over the ensuing four years, the government made fitful progress toward
these goals, eventually centralizing government disbursements, cutting the
investment budget, and making reductions in wages and fringe benefits paid
to public servants and employees of parastatals. In 1990, however,
political events forced the government to abandon many of the targets agreed
with the IMF in order to settle strikes throughout the public, parapublic,
and private sectors.
As a result, as 1991 progressed discussions between the IMF and the
government on a new structural adjustment program continued. Many of the
previous targets remain on the table, including reform and/or privatization
of the parastatal enterprises, improvement in public sector financial
management, and reductions in salaries and benefits. The details of a new
program have not been finalized, but a renewed push to privatize some of the
parastatals is almost certain. In addition, a careful audit of receipts and
expenditures in the oil sector will be done with an eye to improving
management of the country's key resource. Finally, 1991 should see the
finalization of computerization of the customs service, which in turn should
reduce the problem of uncollected duties.
The goal of the IMF's structural adjustment strategy for Gabon is to restore
its fiscal stability by 1993, allowing the country to resume the growth
track interrupted by the oil shock of the mid-1980s.
The 1991 budget was approved at a level of 490 billion FCFA (about $1.5
billion), a 22.5 percent increase over 1990. The 1991 investment budget was
set at 105 billion FCFA (about $36 million). Of that amount some 17.5
billion FCFA was slated for the road maintenance program, reflecting the
government's determination to improve Gabon's road network. The 1991 budget
also allocates 17 billion FCFA to the agricultural sector (primarily for
commodity stabilization stocks), 13 billion FCFA to defense, 6 billion FCFA
to the Transgabonais railroad, 3 billion FCFA to education, and 2.6 billion
FCFA to health.
The petroleum sector has been the driving force behind the Gabonese
economy since the early 1970s. Gabon, the second largest Sub- Saharan
African oil producer and a member of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting
Countries (OPEC), had an output of 14.5 million metric tons (mt) of
petroleum in 1990. The proceeds from this production accounted for 71
percent of export receipts. Oil exports of $689 million in 1990 to the
United States made up the lion's share of Gabon's exports to this country.
Oil production increases and release from OPEC production quotas resulting
from the Gulf crisis in the second half of 1990 were largely responsible for
the estimated 13 percent growth that Gabon's economy experienced in 1990.
The Gabonese oil basin extends along the coast from Equatorial Guinea to the
Congo in a band reaching approximately 250 km inland in the north and 20 km
in the south. Until 1988, four principal types of crude were produced
(generally from offshore wells): Mandji from the Port Gentil area; Gamba
from the south near Sette-Cama; Lucina from the Mayumba region; and Oguendjo
from the south. Production in all of these fields has been declining in
recent years. This trend has been more than offset, however, by new
production from the large onshore Rabi-Kounga field, which came on line in
1989. Estimates of Rabi's reserves run as high as 600 million recoverable
barrels, and even conservative estimates allow for about 30 years of
production. Of Gabon's approximate production of 270,000 barrels per day
(b/d) as of the end of 1990, Rabi accounts for about 150,000 b/d, all of
which is high-quality light crude.
Gabon has no national oil company; exploration and production are generally
in the hands of foreign firms, often with the participation of the
Government of Gabon. The activities of the foreign firms present in Gabon
have generally been regulated by two different types of arrangement with the
Government of Gabon. Before 1982, the majority of the agreements signed
with the government gave the foreign firm which conducted exploration
generous concessions in which the company took title to the oil discovered.
While these concessions have not been abrogated, since 1982 production
sharing agreements more favorable to the government have become the rule.
Under a concession, firms pay the Government of Gabon royalties of 20
percent of gross turnover (calculated based on the government's benchmark
price, which is set periodically with reference to the OPEC reference
price). Under a production sharing agreement (PSA), ownership of the crude
oil produced is shared between the government and the producing company
according to the terms of the individual contract; the split has varied
from 15 percent in the case of Rabi Kounga to as high as 40 percent. Oil
companies, whether they produce under a concession or a PSA, are subject to
a tax of 73 percent of profits.
Currently, about 40 foreign firms have exploration or production contracts
with the Government of Gabon, of which six -- Arco, Sun, Amoco, Conoco,
Exxon, and Amerada Hess -- are American. Four companies are currently
producing: Elf, Shell, Amoco, and British Gas. In a recent development, a
U.S. firm, Amerada Hess, has established a joint venture with the Government
of Gabon for the creation of a new firm, Amerada Hess Production (Gabon).
This new firm has purchased 10 percent of the production of the Rabi Kounga
field (taken from the 15 percent originally allocated to the government in
agreements with Shell and Elf).
The current exploration framework may well change towards mid- 1991. In May
1991, a number of the older concessions granted to Elf and Shell will
expire, and close to two-thirds of the total leases will be up for bidding
as well. A bidding round will follow in late 1991 which may change the face
of the Gabonese oil industry.
The refining of petroleum products in Gabon is the responsibility of the
Societe Gabonaise de Raffinage (SOGARA). This company, 25 percent of which
belongs to the Government of Gabon and the rest to various oil companies,
has a refinery at Pointe Clairette with a capacity of some 1.2 million tons
per year. The production from this refinery more than meets Gabon's
domestic needs (estimated at 330,000 tons per year), and each year a
considerable amount of oil is processed for foreign companies. In 1988,
Sogara processed 856,000 tons of oil. Sogara exports heavy fuel oils.
Local distribution of Sogara's products is handled by foreign firms. Pizo
Shell is the largest distributor, followed by Mobil, BP, Fina, Texaco, and
Market Prospects: The vast majority of oil prospecting and drilling
equipment is imported from foreign sources. With the exception of assembled
platforms produced by two Gabonese companies in Port Gentil, SETRAPEM and
SOGARES, there is no domestic production of equipment or materials. The
increase in price for oil following the Gulf crisis in late 1990 has led to
a renewed round of exploratory drilling and seismic work. Local companies
have reported a sharp increase in prices for both onshore and offshore
drilling rigs and lengthening waiting periods for equipment. This demand
will be satisfied almost entirely by imports. It is important to note,
however, that most production material is purchased directly from overseas
suppliers, rather than from local retailers or wholesalers. U.S. exporters
would do best to contact a company directly at its headquarters, whether in
the United States or abroad.
Best prospects include post drilling equipment -- such as valves, seals,
pipes, rock bits, and well heads -- and coring equipment. Parts for boring
machinery do quite well; in 1990 alone, such parts accounted for some $19
million in U.S. sales. Casing for oil drills posted sales of $4 million in
the same period. Sales of oil pipe worth $1.7 million were recorded in the
same year. Other items such as drills, pumps, and surveying equipment also
did quite well during this period.
Two thirds of Gabon's territory is covered by dense tropical forest. These
forests are composed of over 400 species of trees with potential production
estimated at 600 million cubic meters (m3). Gabon's reserves of exploitable
timber include the following species: okoume (100 million m3), ozigo (25-35
million m3), Ilomba (20-30 million m3), azobe (15-25 million m3), and padouk
(10-20 million m3). Of particular importance is okoume, a widely used
material in the production of plywood. Okoume is only present in Gabon,
Congo, and Equatorial Guinea, with Gabon responsible for 90 percent of world
Gabon's renewable forestry resources play an important role in Gabon's
economy. Gabon is the largest exporter of raw wood in the region, and its
sales represent a fifth of Africa's total exports of raw wood. Although the
forestry sector currently represents a small percentage of Gabonese GDP (2
percent in 1988), the forestry sector is second only to the petroleum sector
in export earnings, at $188 million in 1988. Gabon's lumber exports are
primarily unprocessed; finished wood products only make up between 20 and 30
percent of total exports. As petroleum reserves are exhausted, this sector
will become increasingly important.
At the present time, over 50 firms are engaged in exploitation of Gabon's
forest reserves. Logging concessions covering an area of 5 million hectares
have been granted by the Government of Gabon. These concessions are divided
into three zones. The first zone, easily accessible by established roads,
is reserved exclusively for Gabonese producers and has been largely
logged-out of top quality okoume. This zone covers about 8,645,000 acres.
The second zone, covering 25,935,000 acres and largely in the hands of
foreign firms, is somewhat less accessible, with transportation either by
river or the recently completed Transgabonais railroad. The third zone
covers 14,850,000 acres and is serviced by rail. Total annual production
from all zones has averaged 1.5 million m3.
One of the largest logging concerns is a French firm, Rougier Ocean Gabon
(ROG). ROG is primarily an exporter of unprocessed timber, with production
in 1989 at 240,000 m3 (of which 170,000 m3 was okoume). This production
comes principally from lumber camps in the north and along the Ndjole-Bitam
highway and the Transgabonais railway. Although it is not required by law
to process a percentage of its production (as in neighboring Cameroon), ROG
does mill about 10 percent of its production at its plant in Owendo.
Formerly the largest lumber company in Gabon, the parastatal firm Compagnie
Forestiere du Gabon (CFG) is the only producer to process the majority of
its lumber. In 1987, for example, CFG produced 63,000 m3 of plywood at its
Port Gentil factory. In recent years, this company has been in considerable
difficulty due to inefficient management and overemployment. Acting on the
recommendations of the IMF and the World Bank, the Gabonese Government has
begun the process of privatizing the firm. In September 1990, a French
firm, Pinault, signed a 16-month management contract with the Government of
Gabon, with complete privatization likely to come at the end of that period.
Until 1988, the 51 percent state-owned Societe Nationale des Bois du Gabon
(SNBG) was solely responsible for foreign marketing of Gabon's lumber
production. This firm has also had a number of problems in recent years.
In 1985, the Government of Gabon forced SNBG to sign a performance contract
and put management in the hands of a private Gabonese firm. In 1988, the
firm's continued poor performance (1988 deficit about $16 million) forced
the government to eliminate SNBG's marketing monopoly for all woods but
okoume. Despite these changes, local producers still remain critical of
SNBG, especially of its 10-13 percent marketing commission, which compares
unfavorably with the 3-5 percent a commercial concern would charge. The
Government of Gabon is currently seeking a buyer for a significant portion
of its shares in SNBG.
The international demand for Gabon's forestry products has shifted
significantly in the last few years. Traditional markets in Europe have
been declining. As some European countries (Germany and Great Britain)
abandon treatment of tropical woods due to high costs and as others seek
less expensive sources of wood (Asia, local subsiding production) demand for
African lumber product has decreased. Between 1978 and 1988, European
demand for okoume dropped 33 percent. Other markets, however, have opened
up. Since Indonesia has begun to control its wood exports for environmental
reasons, Asian markets (especially Japan) are increasingly receptive to
African exports. Certain Near Eastern markets, like Morocco and Israel, are
also large importers of African wood products. These shifts have not
greatly affected Gabonese production.
Market Prospects: U.S. forestry equipment firms are already well represented
in Gabon. For example, U.S. firms have an 80 percent share of the tractor
market in the forestry sector. A number of products do well, including
tractors capable of winching over 2 metric tons; tractors with wheels over
4,500 cubic centimeters; 4.5-20 ton trucks; sawmill, pulpmill, and veneer
and plywood making machinery; protective foot and headware; hand tools;
handsaws; hand motor saws; drying kilns; and industrial scales. As the life
expectancy of most of this equipment in Gabon is only 3 years, a minimum
market for these items is already assured.
As access to forestry reserves improves thanks to the Transgabonais railroad
and the construction of new roads, the market for forestry equipment should
improve. Although high wages in the forestry sector remain a problem, the
long-term prospects for Gabon's forestry sector are believed to be the best
among the various producers of tropical timber, especially those in Africa.
Although Gabon's mineral resources are extensive, the mining sector,
excluding petroleum, accounted for only about 3.3 percent of GDP and nearly
20 percent of export receipts in 1988. Manganese and uranium are the
principal products of the industrialized mining sector. Gold is produced by
Gabon is the third largest non-Soviet producer of manganese in the world,
with annual production of between 2.2 and 2.4 million tons. Current reserves
located in the Haut Ogooue region should last up to 150 years at present
rates of production. Because these reserves are of superior quality,
Gabonese manganese is highly competitive.
The major producer of manganese in Gabon is the Compagnie Miniere de
l'Ogooue (COMILOG), in which a U.S. firm, USX, owns a minority interest.
COMILOG employs 3,200 persons and had sales of $250 million in 1989.
Manganese ore from COMILOG's Moanda deposits are either exported by tram to
the Congo and then to the Congolese port of Pointe Noire or along the
Transgabonais railway to the newly constructed mineral port of Owendo near
the capital. Although manganese ore is not processed in Gabon, COMILOG has
a French affiliate, Societe Francaise de Ferromanganese de Paris-Outreau
(SFPO), which processes Gabonese ore at Boulogne-sur-mer in France.
Gabon has significant uranium reserves. The most important deposit of
uranium is at Mounana. Estimated reserves are 15,600 tons, which should
last between 15 and 20 years at current production levels. The Compagnie
des Mines d'Uranium de Franceville (COMUF), in which both the Gabonese
Government and French and Gabonese private interests participate, is the
primary producer of Gabon's yellowcake. Production in 1989 reached 890
tons. However, COMUF's contract with the French nuclear utility company
expired in December 1989 and was not renewed. As a result of the loss of
its biggest and most lucrative customer, the mining company will probably be
forced to scale back production.
Gold is mined by individuals registered by the Ministry of Mines. About
1,200 miners pan for gold in seven regions, the most important of which are
Eteke, Ndangui, Makokou, and Longo. Official figures for 1988 put
production at 137 kg. However, the Ministry of Mines is the only legal
purchaser of gold in Gabon and often pays a good deal less than market
prices for its purchases; actual production is therefore likely to be
At the beginning of the 1980s, the Government of Gabon undertook a major
survey of the country's mineral wealth. The inventory's goal was to
discover commercially exploitable mineral deposits and to add to the general
geological record of Gabon. The mineral inventory has brought to light a
large carbonatite deposit containing columbium, rare earth metals, yttrium,
titanium, tin, and other potentially viable commodities. A large, deep,
gold deposit was found in West-Central Gabon. Large iron ore deposits have
also been located at Belinga and Mayumba. Although the survey has revealed
a number of new deposits of a wide variety of minerals, none has been of
sufficient quantity or quality to make them commercially viable in current
markets given Gabon's high cost structure.
Market Prospects: The United States has sold appreciable quantities of
mining equipment to Gabon in the past. American exports such as surveying
equipment ($4 million in 1989), explosives, graders and levelers, and rock
drills have found buyers in recent years.
Despite widespread availability of land and government promotion efforts,
only 1 percent of Gabonese territory is currently under cultivation.
Traditional farming has been eclipsed by the modern sector of the economy,
and attempts at developing agriculture for export have been largely foiled
by weak international markets and poor infrastructure. Gabon relies heavily
on other African states and on Europe for much of its food and other
Until about 30 years ago, the vast majority of Gabonese drew their living
from subsistence agriculture centered on indigenous food crops like manioc,
bananas, and peanuts. Since independence, however, the dominant position of
the petroleum industry in the Gabonese economy and the poor condition of
Gabon's rural infrastructure have greatly reduced the role of agriculture.
Subsistence agriculture has been reduced dramatically as formal sector
employment opportunities generated by the oil boom have created a rural
exodus. More modern agricultural enterprises have suffered from poor
transportation facilities for bringing food to market, the widespread
availability of cheap imports, and low commodity prices.
Beginning in 1986, the Government of Gabon sought to address some of the
problems of the Gabonese agricultural sector and embarked on a large-scale,
state-led agricultural development program. Between 1986 and 1989, Gabon
invested about $300 million in agricultural development projects, and fully
68 percent of the "productive investment" monies for the period 1989-91 are
to be directed towards agriculture. Parastatal firms producing a number of
agricultural products, mostly for export, have been created.
The agricultural development program has met thus far with only slight
success, however. As late as 1988, agriculture accounted for only 9 percent
of total GDP. In the same year, Gabon's imports of food came to $151
million, roughly 27 percent of total imports. Local production meets only
between 10 and 15 percent of Gabon's food requirements.
Furthermore, Gabon's principal export crops -- coffee, cocoa, palm oil, and
sugar -- have suffered in recent years.
This is especially true of coffee and cocoa. The Government of Gabon's
marketing board, the Caisse de Stabilization et de Perequation, is
responsible for the purchase and marketing of Gabon's coffee and cocoa at
prices set in advance at a levels which are supposed to be consistent with
long-run market prices. The recent collapse of international prices for
these commodities, combined with overvalued farm gate prices and high
operating costs, has put considerable strain on the financial resources of
the Caisse de Stabilization and has put increased pressure on Gabon's export
The collapse of the International Coffee Agreement (ICA) in the summer of
1989 sent coffee prices plummeting on international markets by over 47
percent during 1989. The government marketing board was accordingly forced
to reduce producer prices by 50 percent at the end of 1989 to 19 cents a
pound. Given reduced incentives and a sluggish market, the small farmers of
central Gabon who make up the bulk of Gabon's coffee producers are shifting
from coffee to cocoa or other products. Gabon's fairly small annual
production of about 30,000 60 kg bags is not expected to increase. Most of
Gabon's coffee is exported to France, Holland, and Italy.
Cocoa has done little better. Producer prices for cocoa were also reduced
by 42 percent in 1989 to 37 cents a pound. Furthermore, both the larger
holdings of the parastatal cocoa and coffee company, SOGAGAB, and smaller
private holdings in the Woleu-Ntem region of Gabon have been plagued by low
productivity aggravated by lack of inputs. Gabon's annual production of
about 1800 mt of cocoa is not expected to increase.
Gabon's sugar exports also continue to stagnate. SOSUHO, Gabon's parastatal
sugar producing company managed by the French company Grands Moulins de
Paris, owns some 10,000 hectares of land and has a refinery with a capacity
of 30,000 mt per year. In 1987, however, total Gabonese sugar production
only came to 18,535 mt. Furthermore, although Gabon was accorded a
U.S.sugar quota of 7,730 mt in 1989-90, Gabon exported only 778 mt to the
Palm oil production and exports are also performing poorly. Agrogabon, a
parastatal managed by the Franco-Belgian firm Socfinco, is largely
responsible for production and marketing of Gabon's palm oil. Its factories
at Makokou and Lambarene have a combined annual capacity of about 15,000
mt. The small size of the domestic market and Agrogabon's high production
costs (in 1987 Agrogabon produced a ton of palm oil for about $700 over the
international market price) have put the continued existence of Agrogabon's
palm oil operations in question.
Rubber production shows more promise. HEVEGAB, 99 percent state-owned, has
developed a 17,000 acre rubber plantation in northern Gabon. The company
has begun an innovative smallholder extension program in which villagers
from the surrounding areas are provided with approximately 12 acres of
rubber trees and access to HEVEGAB's processing plant. Latex production is
expected to begin in 1992 or 1993, and the company hopes to produce 6,000
tons of rubber a year by the end of the century. Agrogabon also has some
4,000 acres of rubber plants.
Market Prospects: Given Gabon's continued dependence on imported
agricultural products, U.S. farm and food products, particularly long grain
rice, tobacco, canned goods, cereals, and snack foods, have potential.
While U.S. exports have been modest (in 1989 the United States exported over
$1 million in rice and $600,000 in wheat), Gabon's overall market for food,
agricultural products, and vegetable oils totaled some $100 million in the
Gabon's agricultural programs generate considerable sales of equipment and
fertilizers as well. U.S. sales of tractors to Gabon topped $2.6 million
last year. U.S. processing equipment and fertilizer also had significant
sales. Again, U.S. sales were fairly modest compared to the overall size of
Gabon's demand for these products.
Fisheries and Livestock
Gabon's coastal waters are believed to contain some 265,000 mt of fish and
2,000 mt of shellfish with an additional 500,000 mt of tuna in the Gulf of
Guinea. Gabonese waters are estimated to be able to support an annual catch
of about 15,000 mt of tuna and 12,000 mt of sardines.
Total production was estimated at 20,900 mt in 1988. Target species
include: Bonga Shad (9,680 mt in 1988); West African Croakers (2,250 mt in
1988); Lesser African Threadfin (1,770 mt in 1988); and Marlins (1,375 mt in
1988). Shrimp production reached 1,600 mt in 1983 (last year available).
Traditional fishing accounts for about 66 percent of total catch. The
Centre de Regroupement des Pecheurs Artisanaux d'Owendo, established in
1984, handles the marketing of all seafood product caught by local fishermen
and provides them with supplies.
Industrial fishing is primarily in the hands of foreign fleets. The
industrial catch was estimated at 7,080 mt in 1989. The number of
commercial boats operating in Gabonese waters has been decreasing in recent
years due to high operating costs. The number of shrimp and fish trawlers
has decreased from 37 in 1987 to 26 in 1989. Because of this decline,
however, the Gabonese fishing industry remains unable to meet local demand
for fish; in 1989, Gabon imported 4,600 tons of fish at a cost of about $7
million. Gabonese shrimp exports to the United States totaled $35,000 in
the first half of 1990; tuna exports came to $12,000.
Port facilities for the industrial fleet are centered in Port Gentil, the
economic capital of the country. As of the early 1980s, Port Gentil's
fishing port boasted fairly substantial infrastructure. A home port for
trawlers had been built which counted a market for direct sales of fresh
fish to the local market and a freezing operation, with a plan for a cannery
and a fish meal factory. The capacity of this installation was some 20,000
mt per year. A port for tuna trawlers with refrigerated storage facilities
and canning operations was also planned. The fishing dock at Port Gentil is
280 m long with a 7 m draft. Water and electric hookups are available as
well as fuel. The port is administered by a state agency, the Office des
Ports et Rades du Gabon (OPRAG).
According to an international agreement signed by Gabon, the Gabonese
exclusive economic zone extends 200 miles off its coasts. By Gabonese law,
no foreign fishing company may fish within this zone without an agreement
between the Government of Gabon and the government of the foreign fishing
company. However, Gabon has no patrol boats, and foreign boats, especially
French and Spanish, do in fact capture tuna in Gabonese waters. Two
documents are required by the Gabonese Government for tuna fishing: a
license from the Ministry of Waters and Forests and an authorization to
introduce the vessel for tuna fishing delivered by the Ministry of Transport.
Gabon has considerable potential for livestock development. Until recently,
Gabon's meat consumption of approximately 15,000 mt per year was almost
entirely covered by imports. In an effort to limit the importation of meat,
the Gabonese Government in conjunction with the African Development Bank has
begun a major beef production promotion effort entrusted to
Agrogabon-Elevage, a subsidiary of Agrogabon, with technical assistance from
the Belgian firm Jules Van Lancker. Over 200,000 ha in Gabon's unpopulated
savannah region were set aside for three ranches at Ngounie, Nyanga, and
Lekabi. These ranches currently have herds numbering about 25,000 head, and
development plans call for about 50,000 head by 1998. At present, however,
imports remain the most important source of beef for the Gabonese market as
local production is estimated to be four times more expensive than frozen
Gabonese poultry production currently meets about one half of Gabon's
consumption. Gabonese production of about 3,000 mt per year is primarily in
the hands of the Societe industrielle d'agriculture et d'elevage de Boumango
(SIAEB). The corn and soy feed for its poultry is also produced by SIAEB
Gabon's industrial and manufacturing sector has remained limited. In 1989,
manufacturing represented only about 5 percent of GDP. Its expansion is
restricted by the small size of the domestic market, the failure of UDEAC to
substantially improve access to neighboring markets, and the high cost of
Gabonese labor. Economic downturn caused by the fall of the price of oil
and the decline of the dollar after 1986 has further hurt the Gabonese
manufacturing sector. The principal activities in this sector include food,
beverage, and tobacco production, chemical processing, clothing finishing,
and construction materials manufacture.
Gabon's food processing industry has suffered in recent years. Depressed
demand as a result of economic downturn combined with the low prices of
imports has hurt this subsector. For example, the Societe Meuniere et
Avicole du Gabon (SMAG), the principal Gabonese producer of bread, flour,
and eggs, had to reduce production of its various food products by between
10 and 30 percent in 1987. The other major food companies, Societe
Industrielle de Laiterie Librevilloise (SIGALLI) and Societe Alimentaire de
la Nomba (SAN), have also had to reduce production.
Beverage and tobacco companies are showing a more mixed performance. Many
of the primary beverage producing firms, including the Societe des
Brasseries du Gabon (SOBRAGA), the Societe pour l'Expansion des Boissons
Hygieniques au Gabon (SEBOGA), the Societe des Vins du Gabon (SOVINGAB), and
the Distillerie de Mpassa, are suffering under the same conditions as the
food industry. However, the mineral water market, which is currently
protected from foreign competition, is growing. The Societe des Eaux
Minerales de Leconi (EAULECO) has finished a $5.1 million water bottling
factory at Leconi which currently produces 10,000 bottles per day with
technical assistance from Evian of France. The Regie Gabonaise des Tabacs
(RGT), which produces and markets tobacco in Gabon, is also expanding. RGT
production in 1988 was 21 million packs of cigarettes, as compared with 11.4
million in 1987.
The chemical industry includes an industrial gas plant, Societe Gabonaise
d'Oxygene et Acetylene (GABOA), that produces oxygen and acetylene and two
plants that manufacture paints and varnishes, Gabonaise de Peintures et de
Laques (GLP) and Chimie-Gabon. In addition, Auxillaire du Batiment Aveyia
(ABA) manufactures plastic products using imported pellets as raw
materials. The Gabonese firm SIDAC meets Gabon's needs in detergents and
Ciments du Gabon has had a monopoly on the production of construction
materials since 1981. Ciments du Gabon has three plants, at Franceville,
Ntoum, and Owendo with a combined capacity of 420,000 tons of cement and
350,000 tons of clinker. Because of a serious slump in the housing sector,
Ciments du Gabon has been operating far below capacity. In 1988, Ciments du
Gabon's production of cement only reached 125,000 tons.
As a result of the deep structural problems and cheap imports from Asia, the
clothing industry in Gabon is struggling. With the closure of the Societe
Textile du Gabon (SOTEGA) in 1988, Gabon ceased to produce fabric.
Manufacture of ready-wear clothing is largely in the hands of three firms,
Societe de Vetements Manufactures (SOVEMAN), Societe Gabonaise de Textile
(SOGATEX), and Societe Gabonaise de Commerce et d'Exportation (SOGACOME).
There is also a large amount of informal sector production of clothing by
Market Prospects: Despite the small size of the Gabonese market and recent
economic troubles, there is considerable demand for manufactured goods in
Gabon. Gabonese firms are often uncompetitive and imports do well.
Consumer goods, especially food items, are in demand (see section on
agriculture). Other manufactures also do well; Gabon imported about $91
million in manufactured goods in 1988. While the majority of these imports
came from Europe, American manufactured products are well considered in
Gabon and the possibility exists for substantial sales.
The production and distribution of power and water throughout Gabon is
controlled by the Societe d'Energie et d'Eau du Gabon (SEEG). The
Government of Gabon is the majority partner in SEEG, with COMILOG,
Elf-Gabon, COMUF, the French Caisse Centrale, and other investors also
participating. SEEG has been in increasing difficulty in recent years as a
result of unpaid bills (particularly on the part of parastatals), a rate
schedule which has not changed in line with costs, and extremely low rates
for smaller users.
Hydroelectric production accounts for the vast majority of Gabon's electric
output. The Libreville area is supplied by the dam and hydroelectric
installation at Kinguele and the hydroelectric installation at Tchimbele.
The area around Franceville is serviced by the hydroelectric dam at
Poubara. Additional production comes from two thermal generators which
supply Port Gentil and 22 small generators, mostly diesel, throughout
Gabon. Total output in 1989 was 901 gwh, of which 58 percent went to
Libreville, 19 percent to Port Gentil, and 16.5 percent to Franceville.
During the 1980s, Gabon began exploring the possibility of using solar
energy to meet at least some of its energy needs. In the mid-1980s, the
Ministry of Energy completed solar energy pilot projects in four remote
villages. Elf Gabon also installed 21 solar units on an experimental
basis. Solar energy has been used in telecommunications in Gabon since 1981.
Water production reached 32 million m3 in 1989. National consump- tion has
remained stable at around 26 million m3. Libreville consumes 63.4 percent
of Gabon's water production, Port Gentil 15 percent, and Franceville 8.5
percent. The number of subscribers has risen from 29,000 in 1985 to 33,000
Gabon's telephone and telex service is linked directly to neighboring
African states, Europe, and North America. Direct dialing, collect calls,
and credit card calling are all available to and from the United States.
The government agency which runs Gabon's telecommunications network, the
Office of Posts and Telecommunications (OPT), began a major program of
telecommunica- tions infrastructure enhancement in the mid-1980s. As late
as 1986, only three major cities -- Libreville, Port Gentil, and Franceville
-- had broadcast and telephone service. In that year, the OPT announced a
$279 million project to extend the telecommunications system to rural areas
and increase urban capabilities. As part of that program, an American firm,
Scientific Atlanta, won a $21 million contract to supply 12 earth satellite
stations with financing from the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
Television service has also been improved and expanded in recent years. In
1988, a commercial satellite channel, Tele-Africa, began broadcasting
satellite news, entertainment from France and the United States, sports, and
game shows. Tele-Africa has apparently captured a large percentage of the
Gabonese television audience and plans to expand its coverage to a number of
markets in Central Africa. More recently, a private cable network has
opened, offering a mixture of foreign broadcasts on a subscription basis.
Purchase of special receiving equipment, a decoder, and a subscription
(total, with first year's subscription, costs roughly $1,000) gives the
viewer access to a French channel direct from France, English-language
entertainment programming from Bophutatswana, and CNN.
There is also a significant radio network, with some 150,000 radio receivers
in use. The national broadcasting station, La Voix de la Renovation, runs
continuous national and world services. In 1979, Radio France International
established a French broadcasting station, Africa No 1, which is partly
owned by the Gabonese Government but which broadcasts mostly French
material. Recently, Africa No 1 has been expanded to provide national
coverage in addition to its region-wide shortwave broadcasts.
Market Prospects: The Government of Gabon's commitment to improving the
telecommunications network creates opportunities which American firms can
take advantage of, as the experience of Scientific Atlanta illustrates.
Many telecommunications purchases are big ticket items or turnkey projects
like the construction of earth stations. Some equipment is also sold
individually; the United States sold almost $1 million worth of antenna
parts to Gabon in 1990. However, smaller sales opportunities exist as well.
One small Gabonese firm, for example, recently secured approval to begin
importing AT&T phones from the United States and to market and install them
Gabon's transportation network was greatly improved with the opening of the
Transgabonais railroad at the end of 1986. This railway is over 700 km long
and cuts across Gabon from east to west, linking Libreville with
Franceville. The Transgabonais railway is run by the Office du Chemin de
Fer Transgabonais (OCTRA). The Transgabonais generated revenues of FCFA 10
billion in 1989, up from FCFA 8.5 billion the year before. The
Transgabonais offers passenger service (121,000 passengers in 1988);
however, its most important function is the transport of Gabon's primary
materials from the interior to the port of Owendo. In 1988, the
Transgabonais moved some 490,000 mt of raw timber to port. The Transgabonais also transports manganese ore for the mining company COMILOG.
COMILOG has a contract with OCTRA for the maintenance of the rail network.
Development of an adequate road system has occurred only very slowly in
Gabon, and maintenance of existing roads has often taken a backseat to other
development projects. There are currently 7,733 km of public roads, of
which only 780 km are paved. Tropical forest, heavy rains, and frequently
flood-swollen rivers would make road maintenance difficult even if the
budgetary resources were available. The emphasis that the Government of
Gabon has put on the building of the Transgabonais railroad to the detriment
of road building and maintenance until very recently has been, therefore,
even more damaging to the road network.
This situation is likely to improve, however, given an increased commitment
on the part of the government to develop Gabon's road system. The
Government of Gabon has been under increasing public pressure to improve the
condition of the road network. Accordingly, the government has begun a
major improvement and maintenance project with the support of the African
Development Bank. The 1991 budget allocates FCFA 14.9 billion ($57 million)
for improvement of existing roads, construction of feeder roads to the
Transgabonais railroad, development of a network of roads to remote areas,
and repairing and building bridges.
Interior and coastal shipping is in the hands of the Compagnie Nationale de
Navigation (CNI). Passengers and freight are transported along the Ogooue
and Nyanga rivers and along the Libreville estuary. CNI has 11 river boats,
of which the most important is a 490 mt barge which transports freight and
petroleum. A subsidiary of Elf Aquitaine of France, Union des Remorquers de
l'Ocean (URO), runs daily ferry service between Libreville and Port Gentil.
Gabon has two principal ocean ports: Owendo and Port Gentil. The mineral
port of Owendo, the terminus of the Transgabonais railroad, was built to
allow transshipment of COMILOG's manganese ore to European processors. The
minerals port has a 900 meter long pier with a conveyor belt which can load
3,000 tons of ore an hour. The mineral port is managed by COMILOG. At
Owendo there is also a timber staging port with 400 hectares of floating
storage, a container port with three along-side berths, industrial and
storage facilities, a fishing port, and dockyards. The commercial port at
Port Gentil is used primarily for the import of consumer goods and finished
petroleum products and for the export of agricultural and timber products.
In 1988 461,000 mt of merchandise came into to Port Gentil and 622,000 mt
left. Discharge is by ship's gear into lighters. There is also a petroleum
port at Port Gentil which is the principal exit point for Gabon's petroleum
Foreign firms dominate Gabon's international ocean shipping. Only one
Gabonese company, the Societe Nationale de Transports Maritimes
(SONATRAM), currently carries cargo between Gabon and Europe. Sonatram has
two ships, purchased in 1983, which carried approxi- mately 126,000 mt of
cargo in 1988. The most important foreign carriers are the Societe Ouest
Africaine d'Entreprise Maritime (SOAEM) and the Compagnie Maritime de
Chalandage d'Owendo (COMACO). COMACO carries about 60 percent of the cargo
leaving Gabonese ports. COMACO has two agencies, at Port Gentil and
Libreville, and a dry dock at Libreville.
The following shipping companies have regular sailings from the United
States to Gabon: AAEL (Baltimore, Houston, Newark, and New Orleans to Port
Gentil), ATL (Houston and New Orleans to Port Gentil), Deutsche Afrika
Linien (Baltimore, Charleston, and Newark to Port Gentil), Lykes (Baltimore,
Newark, and New Orleans to Port Gentil), TORM (Baltimore, Charleston,
Houston, Newark, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Savannah to Port Gentil),
and Trans-Africa (Baltimore, Boston, Charleston, Corpus Christi, Hampton
Roads, Galveston, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Newport
News, Oakland, Philadelphia, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Savannah,
Seattle, Tacoma, and Wilmington to Port Gentil). First Ocean Marine
Company, of Redwood City, California, runs an ocean shipping service
exclusively for oil field companies between Houston and the oil producing
regions of West Africa.
Air Gabon is the dominant airline in Gabon. Air Gabon carries about 70
percent of the interior traffic between the airports of Libreville, Port
Gentil, Franceville, Lambarene, and Moanda. Air Gabon also carries about
half of the more than 4 million international travellers in and out of
Gabon. Other major international carriers include: Air Afrique, Cameroon
Airlines, Nigeria Airways, Sabena, Swissair, and UTA.
Market Prospects: The Government of Gabon has made a commitment to the
improvement of Gabon's transportation infrastructure and American companies
could well be beneficiaries of expansion in the transportation sector.
The African Development Bank-supported road expansion program offers
opportunities to both contractors and exporters of road construction
equipment. African Development Bank procurement guidelines specify that
bidding be open to American firms. U.S. exports to Gabon of assorted
construction equipment, including graders and levelers, surveying equipment,
and surveying equipment parts, came close to $7 million in 1989.
The Government of Gabon has also made a major commitment to improving its
port infrastructure. In 1989, an American consultant prepared a
pre-feasibility study for the U.S. Trade and Development Program to
determine the desirability of funding a feasibility study for the renovation
of the container terminal at Owendo and for a free trade zone at Port
Gentil. Plans are being developed to move forward with these projects.
American suppliers have exported considerable quantities of aircraft parts
to Gabon for the maintenance of Air Gabon's fleet. In 1990, the United
States exported about $1.5 million worth of parts.
Gabon is a member of the Central African Customs and Economic Union (UDEAC),
established by a treaty signed on December 4, 1964. The other UDEAC members
include Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, and
the People's Republic of the Congo (Brazzaville). The UDEAC treaty provides
for a common external customs tariff (CXT) and for the harmonization of
member states' customs regulations with respect to external trading
partners. Until 1976, the CXT was discriminatory with regards to customs
duty on goods originating outside the French franc zone and the European
Economic Community (EEC). Imports from the EEC countries entered
customs-duty free. On February 28, 1975, Gabon signed the Lome Convention,
which permitted signatories from developing countries to end the
favored-customs-duty treatment granted goods. On January 1, 1976, Gabon
ended the customs preference accorded goods from the EEC; imports from all
developed countries are now treated on an equal basis.
Exchange Controls.-In connection with payment for imports, foreign exchange
controls do not apply to France or any country whose bank of issue is linked
with the French treasury by the Operations Account. All other countries,
such as the United States, are subject to exchange controls. The Ministry
of Finance promptly approves legitimate transactions, making the controls
primarily an administrative formality.
Currency.-The basic unit of currency in Gabon is the African Financial
Community (CFA) franc. The exchange rate is officially maintained at 50 CFA
francs per French franc and is freely convertible. In the first half of
1991, the rate of exchange fluctuated between 250 and 300 CFA francs equals
Technical Standards.-The metric system is the official standard of weights
and measures. The standard electric current used in Gabon is 50 cycles
220/380 volts (wyes system).
Language.-French is the official language and is generally understood
throughout the entire country. All correspondence should be written in
French. Shipping documentation also should be prepared in French to
expedite handling of formalities.
Duties and Taxes on Imports
Gabon has two basic import charges: (1) a fiscal duty, which averages
between 10 and 40 percent, although on certain luxury items it may range as
high as 90 percent, and (2) a customs duty, which averages between 5 and 30
Other taxes, fees, and surcharges, all of which apply equally to imports
from any country, include the following: an entry fee, a turnover tax on
imports, a complementary import tax, an equalization on sugar imports, a
special fee on postal and border imports, and a variable levy on sugar
imports from outside francophone Africa. All of the above are part of the
UDEAC general tariff schedule.
Most of the duties are ad valorem rates, assessed on the wholesale market
value of the goods in the country of origin plus all costs and expenses
incurred up to the time of their arrival in a Gabonese port. For imported
goods chargeable with duty weight (that is, specific), the duty is levied on
the net weight unless otherwise specified in the tariff. Gabon uses the
Brussels Tariff Nomenclature (BTN) for classifying products.
Information regarding Gabon's duties applicable to specific products may be
obtained free of charge from the Office of Africa, International Trade
Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C. and any U.S.
Department of Commerce district office. Inquiries should contain complete
product description- including BTN, SITC, or U.S. Schedule B Export
Commodity Numbers, if known.
Imports from non-franc and non-EEC countries are subject to licensing in
accordance with the annual import program. Imports which compete with local
production are subject to import licensing. However, except for items
controlled through Ministerial Order (including cement, ham, mineral water,
plastic goods, sugar, batteries, and refined vegetable oil), import licenses
are easily obtained. Import licenses are valid for 6 months from date of
delivery of the license. The validity period of the license may be extended
if the importer, a month before the license expires, places with the
Direction des Affaires Economiques a request for extension, accompanied by
the import copy license. The request must be supported by a letter from the
supplier in which is stated the reason or reasons why the goods could not be
shipped within the stipulated period. Import licenses entitle importers to
purchase the necessary exchange, provided that the shipping documents are
submitted to an authorized bank. In addition, payment for invisibles
related to trade is permitted freely when the basic trade transaction has
been approved or does not require authorization.
Shipping Customs Provisions
Documents.-Documents required by Gabonese customs officials on shipments
from the United States include the commercial invoice, bill of lading (or
air waybill), and in special circumstance certain sanitary and other
certificates. American goods exported to Gabon do not require a certificate
of origin. Shipping marks and numbers on bills of lading should correspond
exactly with those of the invoices and on the goods. Three copies are
requested for surface shipments and four copies for air shipment.
Marking, Labeling, and Packaging.-All cartons, cases, crates, and packages
containing American-produced merchandise must bear marking identifying the
United States as the country of origin before it will be allowed to enter
Gabon. The marking must be legible and indelibly written in French.
Acceptable marks are "Import des Etats-Unis D'Amerique," "Fabrique aux
Etats-Unis D'Amerique," (that is, "Imported from the U.S.A." or "Made in
Marks of origin are also required on the labels of products exported to
Gabon. These can be either in English or French. There are no specific
regulations on packaging, but goods shipped to Gabon should be securely
padded to withstand tropical heat, moisture, pests, rough handling, and
pilferage. Importers recommend that American shippers should avoid thin
cardboard or plywood containers because they are easily broken into and
seriously damaged if exposed to weather. Many goods entering Gabon by sea
must be transported by truck for transshipment. To ensure safe arrival at
destination, all packages should be of sturdy construction, properly
supported (preferably on the inside), and banded on the outside with steel
Senate Concurrent Resolution 40, adopted July 30, 1973, invites U.S.
exporters to inscribe, insofar as practicable, on the external shipping
containers in indelible print of a suitable size: United States of America.
Although such marking is not compulsory under law, U.S. shippers are urged
to cooperate in this publicizing of American-made goods.
Entry of Goods.-Goods entering in transit are allowed to pass through Gabon
under security bond. They may be kept in storage for 1 year after the date
of landing without having to pay import duty. Storage charges, which
increase at stipulated intervals, are assessed for the period the goods
remain in Gabon.
Goods intended for use within Gabon may be stored at the port free of charge
for a maximum period of 11 days. During this time, importers are requested
to present to custom authorities all the documents necessary for the release
of the merchandise. All goods not retrieved within 30 days after the date
of landing are subject to confiscation and may be sold at public auction.
Shipments by air cargo to Gabon require the same documentation as those
arriving by ocean freight and are subject to the same regulations applicable
to shipments by vessel. In addition, copies of the air waybill are required
on such shipments, as well as the other required documents. For shipments
by air cargo, the shipping documents should either accompany the goods or be
attached to the consignment notes and airmailed separately.
Samples and Advertising Material.-Samples and advertising materials that
have no commercial value may be entered free of duty. Samples with
commercial value may be admitted free of duty under security deposit or bond
for a period of up to 1 year. Advertising materials with commercial value
are subject to duty payments.
SELLING IN GABON
Estimates of Gabon's population vary, but the generally accepted figure is 1
million. About 50 percent of the inhabitants are located in urban areas.
The annual rate of increase in recent years has been estimated at 1
percent. In 1989, the largest cites were Libreville (the capital) with a
population of 350,000 and Port Gentil (the leading industrial center) with a
population of 165,000. The population is centered around the cities and the
mining and timber areas, while large sections of forests and mountains
remain virtually uninhabited.
The Gabonese distribution system is both traditional and modern. In the
modern sector, distribution is handled for the most part by large trading
companies that cover all aspects of selling from importing to retailing.
Several of the import houses, especially those dealing in consumer goods,
have set up stores and super- markets that retail groceries, liquors,
household hardware, and clothing. Other firms have maintained the older
practice of a clerk taking orders from customers for a wide range of
Forms of Representation
The specific type of representation that a U.S. firm might establish in
Gabon should conform to the marketing requirements of the product to be
sold. The principal means are employing the services of an agent, utilizing
a distributorship or dealer, and establishing a direct sales branch or
Agents are generally used for distribution of a wide range of both durable
and nondurable consumer goods and for distribution of some industrial
materials. This form of representation may be particularly appropriate for
highly competitive products appealing to a specialized market.
Consumer goods requiring maintenance of stocks and industrial equipment and
building supplies are often exported to Gabon through established
wholesalers appointed as distributors. The prospective distributing company
buys in its name; it is wise for the U.S. manufacturer to establish a credit
pattern so more flexible or convenient payments terms can be offered. In
appointing an exclusive representative in Gabon, the U.S. exporter is
legally entitled to certain exemptions from U.S. antitrust laws. The
Webb-Pemerene Act allows a limited exemption from antitrust laws for direct
exports by allowing exporters to agree on prices, sales terms, territorial
division, and other activities in export trade that would be prohibited in
U.S. domestic commerce.
Another method of representation for an American firm in Gabon is to
establish a sales subsidiary. This method is particularly useful where a
large continuing market exists for a particular product and where frequent
contacts with the government are required. If the size of the market for a
particular product would make establishing a subsidiary financially
inappropriate, the American exporter might consider organizing a group of
firms selling complementary items to establish a joint-owned sales
The various ministries and other government organizations are responsible
for procuring the materials and services they need. They normally order
from local representatives or from familiar foreign sources (often French).
However, there is a growing interest in investigating American sources of
supply. Occasionally, international calls for bids are issued, particularly
for large-scale projects. Requests for bids are published in local
newspapers and the Agence Gabonaise de Presse (AGP) daily bulletin.
The American Embassy in Libreville also watches all announcements of bids
and promptly reports them to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Bid
specifications are usually based on those in use in France, and Gabon relies
on French technical advisors and consultants. Bids may be handled by one of
those methods depending on the work, type of services, or goods required.
The principal method is competitive bidding.
American firms seriously interested in supplying equipment, materials, or
services to the Gabonese Government or to a parastatal corporation will need
reliable representation. However, calls for bids are somewhat less
important in Gabon than in other countries as contracts are awarded to the
first company that can supply what is needed at an attractive price.
Market Research and Trade Organizations
There are no specialized market research firms operating in Gabon. Banks in
Gabon may provide assistance on market research, with these services
available in the United States through correspondent arrangements. Local
support for market research projects may be obtained through the Chamber of
Commerce, Agriculture, Industry and Mines, B.P. 2234, in Libreville.
American and Gabonese researchers and business visitors are encouraged to
make use of the United States Information Service Library and the U.S.
Embassy commercial services library in Libreville. The Embassy commercial
section stands ready to assist American business travelers in Gabon.
The Government of Gabon has in the past issued a number of publications of
interest to U.S. exporters preparing a marketing plan. In the past several
years, however, publication of these documents has become sporadic due to
the pressure of the ongoing government financial crunch. Interested
exporters should contact the Embassy commercial section for recent
information, or turn directly to the Gabonese agencies involved, such as
Direction de la Statistique et des Etudes Economiques, B.P. 2081, in
Libreville. Another useful source in marketing is the Annuaire National de
la Republique Gabonaise (National Year Book) issued by Sonapresse, B.P.
Advertising.-Almost every medium is available for advertising in Gabon --
newspapers and magazines, billboards, short films in local movie houses, the
radio network, local exhibitions and displays, and direct mail. To be fully
effective, the advice of local specialists should be sought before embarking
on a publicity campaign.
Printed Materials.-The largest daily newspaper in Gabon is the semiofficial
"L'Union." Advertising is inexpensive. Several Europe-based magazines
enjoy wide circulation, including "Bingo," "Paris Match," "La Vie
Africaine," as well as the European edition of "Time" and "Newsweek." Many
businesspeople in Gabon also read African business publications that carry
advertising. These periodicals include "Afrique Agriculture," "Afrique
Industrie Infrastructure," "Afrique Transport," "Bulletin de l'Afrique
Noire," "Marches Tropicaux et Mediteraneens," "Modern African Development,"
"Moniteur African du Commerce et de l'Industrie," "West African Technical
Review" and "Jeune Afrique."
Radio and TV.-Radio is one of the most important means by which information
is disseminated to the Gabonese people. The national radio station
broadcasts all day on Sunday and has morning, noon, and evening broadcasts
the rest of the week. Radio advertising is estimated to reach about 300,000
listeners, based on a conservative estimate of 50,000 sets with 4 listeners
each. Local television broadcasting is confined at the present time to two
channels with combined programming of 8 hours each day. Responsibility for
broadcasting services lies with Radio-Television Gabonaise, B.P. 150, in
Libreville. In addition, Gabon's new shortwave station, Africa No. 1,
accepts advertising and reaches a large multinational audience.
BANKING AND CREDIT
Banking System and Currency
Gabon is a member of the French franc area. Together with the Central
African Republic, Chad, the Congo, Equatorial Guinea, and Cameroon, it
shares a common currency, the CFA franc, issued by a common central bank
(BEAC). Each member of BEAC retains its own coinage. CFA franc notes
issued by BEAC are accepted in the six BEAC states while the individual
coinage generally is not accepted in other countries. The CFA franc's
parity with the French franc is maintained at 50 to 1, and floats with the
French franc vis-a- vis the American dollar.
Apart form the BEAC, the banking system of Gabon comprises seven commercial
banks and a development bank, the Banque Gabonaise de Developpement (BGD).
One American bank, Citicorp, currently has operations in Gabon. Other
financial institutions that perform some banking functions are the Treasury,
the Postal Checking System, and the National Savings Bank.
Commercial bank lending rates for rediscountable credit are based on those
charged by BEAC, to which specific margins are added. In recent years this
policy has resulted in lending rates averaging 9 to 9.5 percent, and some 2
to 2.5 percentage points above the relevant rediscount rates. Companies
that are financially sound according to central bank criteria, parastatal
corporations, and enterprises that are important from a national point of
view, can benefit from preferential rates.
Financing U.S. Exports and Investment
A number of U.S.-based institutions offer financing for trade and investment
in Gabon. The U.S. Export-Import Bank of the United States (Eximbank -- 811
Vermont Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20571, Tel: 202-566-8990) offers medium-
and long-term loans and credit guarantees to finance exports of U.S. goods
and services. The Foreign Credit Insurance Association (FCIA -- One World
Trade Center, 9th Floor, New York, NY 10048, Tel: 212-432-6311) offers
short-term (180 days or less) loans and credit insurance for exports of U.S.
products. Premiums may run about 1 percent of the value of the sale for
180-day terms to a private sector buyer. FCIA officers at regional offices
in Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and Miami can answer questions about their
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC -- 1615 M Street, NW,
Washington DC 20527, Tel: 202-457-7200) offers political risk insurance,
loans, and investment guarantees comparable to those offered by FCIA and
Eximbank to U.S. manufacturers that wish to establish plants in developing
countries, either by themselves or as a joint venture with local capital. A
new program of equity investment was instituted in which allows OPIC to take
a 30 percent equity position in viable projects in countries which benefit
from the Generalized System of Preferences.
The Private Exporting Funding Corporation (PEFCO -- 280 Park Avenue, New
York, NY 10017) is owned by 62 investors, mostly commercial banks and lends
only to finance the export of goods and services of U.S. manufacture and
origin. PEFCO'S loans generally have maturities in the medium term area,
and all are unconditionally guaranteed by Eximbank as to payment of interest
and repayment of principal. PEFCO'S funds supplement the financing
of U.S. exports available through commercial banks and Eximbank.
An increasing number of U.S. commercial banks are now providing finance
toward the sale of U.S. goods and services to African countries like Gabon.
Trade financing options range from cash in advance, through various forms of
letters of credit to open accounts (see "Methods of Payment" section). U.S.
banks involved in financing trade with Africa include Bank of America,
Bankers Trust, Chase, Citibank, Equator Bank (Hong Kong owned), Fidelity
Bank, First Chicago, Morgan Guarantee Trust Company, and Manufacturers
Hanover. U.S. firms may decide to work through a French or British bank
when doing business in Gabon. Paribas and Barclays are both active in Gabon.
To assist U.S. exporters in formulating sound credit policies applicable to
local markets, credit information on individual Gabonese firms is available
from the World Trader Data Reports (Export Information Service,
International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce).
Other sources of credit information include the Foreign Credit Interchange
Bureau, National Association of Credit Management (229 Fourth Avenue, New
York, NY 10003); American Foreign Credit Underwriters Corp. (253 Broadway,
New York, NY 10007); and Dun and Bradstreet, Inc. (99 Church Street, New
York, NY 10007.)
Methods of Payment
Trade between the United States and Gabon for the most part is financed in
three ways: letters of credit, open account, and draft on foreign buyers.
Export Letters of Credit.-When the sales contract between the selling
company and the buying company is completed, the buying company arranges for
its local bank to issue a letter of credit in favor of the seller. The
buying company discusses the terms of the transaction, including any credit
arrangements, with its banker. When the terms are agreed upon, the buyer's
bank writes or cables its correspondent bank in the United States to notify
the selling company that a letter of credit has been established in its
favor. The letter of credit will specifically outline the terms and
conditions under which the letter of credit was issued.
When an irrevocable letter of credit is issued by a bank in the buyer's
country and confirmed by an American bank or issued by an American bank on
behalf of the buying company, it eliminates the credit risk for the selling
company because it assures that dollars will be available to the selling
company when it makes shipment, provided of course that it has all the
requirements of the letter of credit.
To obtain payment for goods exported under a letter of credit, the exporter
will draw on the advising bank (the U.S. correspondent bank). The draft is
called a "sight" draft if it is payable when presented. The selling company
presents its draft and the required documents to the advising bank and
immediately receives payment.
The draft may by a "time" or "issuance" draft if it is drawn to become
payable at a later date. To reduce its risk, the selling company will
present its time draft and documents to its bank and ask the bank to
"accept" the draft, thereby undertaking to pay the draft's value when it
matures; or the selling company may, if the accepting bank is in the buyer's
country and the letter of credit so instructs, ask its bank to forward the
draft and documents to the foreign bank, which will accept the draft, and
hold it until the draft's payment date, when the buyer is asked to make
Open Account.-The open account method of financing exports is frequently
used when the American selling company is dealing with a buyer it knows
well. This method is also popular for transactions between U.S. companies
and their foreign branches subsidiaries.
The principal advantage of this method is its simplicity. There are no
letters of credit, no documentary requirements, no bank charges or other
fees, and often no fixed payment date. Terms of payment, if any, may be
found only in an agreement signed by the buyer and seller. Settlement of
outstanding bills might occur every 90, 120, or 180 days or longer.
The chief disadvantage is the absence of any negotiable instrument
evidencing the obligation. Some sellers fear that serious collection
problems might arise if the customer does not pay the bill when due.
Drafts on Foreign Buyers.-When a buyer and seller have not had long
experience in dealing with one another and when the use of a letter of
credit is felt to be too costly or seems inappropriate or non- competitive,
American exporters may agree to sell to foreign buyers on a draft basis,
either sight draft or time draft.
This procedure is particularly useful for sales to foreign representatives
or dealers. The buyer and seller will have entered into a basic agreement,
and this contract will provide that all sales be made on a sight basis or
perhaps on a 60-, 90-, 120-, or 180-day time deferred payment basis. The
buying company will order its merchandise direct from the selling company.
The selling company will ship and take the shipping documents, together with
its own draft drawn on the buyer for the agreed term, to its bank. The
American bank will forward the documents and payments to its correspondent
bank nearest the buyer. That bank in turn will notify the buyer that the
documents have arrived. If the draft is a sight draft, the buying company
may not claim the documents and thereby title to its goods unless it pays
the draft. This procedure is known as a "sight draft, documents against
payment (s/d d/p)."
If it is a time draft, perhaps drawn at 90-day sight, the buying company
will be asked by its bank to accept the draft, thereby committing itself to
pay the draft at maturity. The draft terms may read "documents against
payment (d/p)," in which case the buying company will accept until it does
pay the draft.
More often, the draft terms will read "90-day sight d/a" or "documents
against acceptance." Upon accepting the draft, therefore, the buyer company
is permitted to obtain the documents and the merchandise, while not being
obliged to make payment until the draft matures. It will, of course, have
established credit and made appropriate arrangements with its bank prior to
undertaking the shipment.
Although there is little official information regarding the foreign economic
presence in Gabon, foreign investment plays an important role in the
Gabonese economy, particularly in the all-important petroleum sector. The
French are by far the largest investors in Gabon with over two thirds of all
foreign investment, primarily in the petroleum, mining, forestry, and trade
sectors. U.S. investment was estimated at $113 million in 1989 by the U.S.
Department of Commerce. However, the actual U.S. presence is far larger,
especially in light of Amerada Hess' recent $300 million purchase of part of
the Government of Gabon's share of the Rabi Kounga oil field. U.S. oil
investments, along with USX's share of COMILOG and U.S. services
investments, probably total somewhere between $500 and $800 million.
Government Policy on Foreign Investment
The Government of Gabon views foreign investment as an important element in
the economic development of the country. Much of the legal framework for
foreign investment is based on French law. The original investment
legislation, the acts 55/61 of 1961 and 21/67 of 1967, provided generally
favorable treatment to foreign investors, although some requirements were
considered obtrusive, most notably the requirement that the Government of
Gabon be given a percentage share of each investment. In 1989, worsening
economic conditions prompted the government to make the investment climate
more favorable to foreign investors, and a new investment code with quite
liberal provisions for foreign participation was promulgated. Foreign
companies now enjoy the same rights and benefits as Gabonese firms as long
as the companies have their head office in Gabon. Government participation
in the investment is no longer required.
With a view towards encouraging productive investment, the new investment
code also offers a number of reductions and exemptions from certain taxes
and fees in relation to the investment's contribution to the national
economy. Specifically, the government offers investors four different
investment regimes based on individual agreements reached with the
Regime I: Offers companies in a variety of sectors (petroleum, timber,
mining, manufacturing, agriculture, etc.) whose activities are limited to
Gabon a number of benefits, including reduction of import duties, export
taxes, indirect taxes, and turnover taxes for goods sold in Gabon. The
maximum duration for agreements, which are non-renewable, is 10 years.
Regime II: Offers companies which invest heavily in "strategic" sectors
digressive exoneration from corporate, land, and business license taxes as
well as reduction of other taxes and duties. The maximum duration of
agreements under Regime II is 10 years.
Regimes III & IV: Offer companies which are active both in Gabon and another
market of the UDEAC customs union exoneration from a number of taxes and
fees as well as certain government guarantees.
Other preferences are given to small and medium-sized investments (under 500
million FCFA annual turnover) with Gabonese participa- tion (51 percent or
more); companies which produce for export and are not covered by one of the
regimes; and companies in the forestry sector.
By law, all physical or legal persons wishing to do business in Gabon must
first request preliminary approval from the Ministry of Commerce.
Specifically, the Ministry of Commerce requires a business authorization
levy of 600,000 FCFA and the establishment of a business card with an 80,000
FCFA stamp tax accompanied by six copies of the firm's articles of
incorporation and the minutes of the meeting of the board of directors in
which the firm decides on the founding of a corporation or branch in Gabon.
Next, all companies from outside of the UDEAC customs area must file a
declaration of direct investment with the Ministry of Finance, without which
the firm will be unable to legally repatriate its revenues. Finally, it is
customary for companies not engaged in purely commercial activities to seek
a letter of approval from the ministry in charge of the activity concerned
(that is, the Ministry of Agriculture for agricultural projects). Other
approvals are often necessary as well, sometimes including that of the
President. Most investors have local partners who assist in negotiating the
terms and gaining the necessary approvals. These partners generally own a
minority interest and do not take an active role in daily management
Investment in the petroleum sector does not require the same screening
procedure. The government developed a model production sharing agreement in
1982 which is used in all production and exploration contracts (a model is
available from the U.S. Department of Commerce's Office of Africa). The
specifics of a given agreement are negotiated with an interministerial
committee chaired by the Ministry of Petroleum and including representatives
from the Ministry of Economy and Plan, of Finance, and of the Domain.
The Government of Gabon guarantees freedom of capital transfers. Companies
belonging to nonresidents are allowed to purchase real estate, to negotiate
contracts, and to enter into commercial agreements in the same way as their
Gabonese counterparts. Foreign employers are subject to Gabonese labor law
and social security legislation.
Business organization law in Gabon is largely modeled on French laws of 1867
and 1925. The two most common business entities are the corporation
(Societe Anonyme, or SA) and the limited liability company (Societe a
Responsabilite Limitee, or SARL). There are also limited provisions for the
establishment of branches and private companies.
The Societe Anonyme (SA) must have a minimum capitalization of 5 million
FCFA. It must have at least seven shareholders, as well as a chairman, a
board of directors (Conseil d'Administration), and a president. The law
10/73 of December 20, 1973 states that the chairman must be appointed by the
board. The chairman is to assume complete responsibility for the company's
management and to represent the company in its dealings with third parties.
The law does not require that the chairman be a physical person. At the
first meeting of the board, an auditor must also be appointed.
The Societe Anonyme a Responsabilite Limitee (SARL) must have a minimum
capitalization of 2 million FCFA. When a SARL has turnover of more than 400
million FCFA during two consecutive years or when it employs more than 100
persons, it must by law become an SA. The SARL must have a minimum of two
partners and a manager (partner or not).
Generally, any company with commercial activites in Gabon must register in
Gabon, which implies the creation of either an SA or a SARL. However, the
1973 law does allow foreign companies to establish a branch in Gabon for a
period of less than 2 years. The branch is not exempt from registration and
approval require- ments outlined above, however. Certain provisions also
exist for the creation of private companies, partnerships, and special
partnerships; these organizations are usually not applicable for foreign
Taxation in Gabon follows the rules laid out in the General Code of Taxation
(Code General des Impots). The account period corresponds to the calendar
year and falls due 4 months after the close of the year (April 30). There
are three basic categories of taxation: direct taxes, indirect taxation, and
The most important of the direct taxes in the Corporation Tax (IS). This
tax concerns all gains realized by the operating company in Gabon and is
based on the balance sheet of the company after deductions. The rate is 50
percent of the company's taxable income, with a minimum tax of 600,000 FCFA
or 1.1 percent of annual turnover, whichever is greater. The company is
exempt from the minimum rate for the first 2 years after incorporation.
Direct taxes on salaries include the Contractual Payment (3 to 4 percent)
and the Social Development Tax (6 percent), which are paid by the employer,
and the Individual Income Tax (between zero and 60 percent), the
Complementary Tax (2 to 4.5 percent), and the Taxe Vicinale on males between
the ages of 18 and 55 (between 2,000 and 10,000 FCFA) which are paid by the
Indirect taxes include the Turnover Tax (14 percent for general business
transactions) and the Tax on Transactions (4 percent for the sale of goods
not covered by the Turnover Tax).
Other taxes include the business license tax (amount varies with activity),
land tax on developed land (9.375 percent of the rental value of the
property), land tax on undeveloped land (2 percent of market value), rent
tax (15 percent), tax on foreign insurance, and tax on securities income.
Industrial Property and Copyright Protection
Gabon is a member of the Office Africain et Malgache de la Propriete
Industrielle (OAMPI). This organization has established a common system for
obtaining and maintaining protection for patents, trademarks, and industrial
designs among its member states. Gabon is also a member of the Paris Union
International Industrial Property Convention for patents and trademarks.
U.S. nationals are entitled to national treatment in Gabon in maintaining
their patent and trademark rights. They are also entitled to certain
privileges such as a 1 year preservation of patent filing rights after first
filing in the United States (6 months for trademarks) and protection against
arbitrary cancellation of patents and trademarks for non-use. Invention and
design patents as well as trademarks are valid for 20 years in Gabon.
Gabon is not a party to any copyright convention to which the United States
adheres. Gabon is, however, a member of the Berne Copyright Convention.
U.S. authors may receive automatic copyright protection in Gabon for a work
if it is published in any one of the 60 other countries which adhere to the
Berne Convention at the same time it is published in the United States.
GUIDANCE FOR THE BUSINESS TRAVELER
Correspondence and Communications
French is the official language of Gabon and is the instrument for
commercial, government, and social exchange. Most businesspeople and
government officials do not speak or write English. To engage competently
in commercial activity within Gabon a working knowledge of French is
essential. Letters written in English rarely receive an answer.
Business correspondence is ordinarily conducted by means of airmail
letters, which arrive from the United States twice a week. Transit
time is usually between 1 and 3 weeks. Post office box numbers rather than
street numbers should be used in addresses.
Cables are frequently used to supplement airmail communication. Telex
exchanges are to be found in Libreville, Port Gentil, and other commercial
centers. Most businesses have their own telex numbers. The major
international hotels and the Libreville Post Office will send and receive
cable/telex messages. The main Libreville Post Office will send and receive
telex cable messages from 8 a.m. to noon and from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Local
telephone service is available in Libreville and the larger provincial towns.
American citizens should be in possession of a valid U.S. passport and the
necessary visa when traveling in Gabon. Visas may be applied for by mail or
in person. If by mail, include postage for passport return by certified or
other mail. Applicants in the United States should contact the Embassy of
the Republic of Gabon (2034 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20008). In
countries where there is no official Gabonese presence, the French Embassy
may be of assistance. Visas are usually issued promptly and are easily
obtainable for periods of up to 3 months. The visa fee is $10. Three
photographs and three copies of the visa application must be submitted. A
copy of a round trip ticket, a letter from one's employer, proof of
financial solvency while in Gabon, and an international health certificate
showing vaccination against yellow fever and cholera may also be necessary.
The following hotels are air-conditioned:
1. Hotel Intercontinental (Okoume Palace), B.P. 2254, Telex: 5271,
Telephone: 732023. The expanded Okoume Palace now has 500 rooms, a swimming
pool, a night club and numerous conference rooms and restaurants. It is
located on the Bord de Mer about 1 mile toward town from the airport. Rooms
range between 27,200 to 31,100 CFA francs per day.
2. Hotel Re-Ndama, B.P. 4064, Telex: 5432, Telephone: 766161 or 742929;
telefax 742924. The Re-Ndama, formerly the Sheraton and now run by Meridien
International, has 300 rooms and 12 suites. It is located on the beach
about 1 kilometer south of the central business district. Facilities
include a swimming pool, two tennis courts, a small shopping mall, two
restaurants, two bars, and a night club. Rooms range between 27,200 and
31,100 CFA francs per day.
3. The Rapontchombo Hotel (Novotel), B.P.48, Telex: 5350, Telephone:
724742. The Rapontchombo is located only two blocks from the U.S. Embassy
in downtown Libreville. It has about 200 rooms, 2 restaurants, a bar, and a
swimming pool. Rooms range between 27,000 and 31,100 CFA francs per day.
4. Tropicana, B.P. 300, Telephone: 732511. The Tropicana is a small (25
rooms) hotel and ideal for people who like to be right on the beach. The
Tropicana beach and restaurant are very popular. It is near the airport.
Rooms range between 10,000 and 12,000 CFA francs per day.
5. Hotel le Gamba, B.P.74, Telex: 5373GO, Telephone: 732736. Situated on
what is considered to be the nicest beach in Libreville, the Gamba is
located across from the airport and 7.5 miles from the center of town.
Facilities include a restaurant, snack bar, bar, private beach, boutique,
tennis court, and swimming pool. Rooms range between 23,300 and 27,200 per
Tipping in Gabon
It is common to leave a small tip in restaurants, hotels, and bars (about 5
percent). Taxi drivers are not tipped. In some restaurants service is
included on the bill (15 percent).
To maintain good health in the tropics, the following simple health
precautions should be followed:
1. Drink only boiled and filtered or bottled water. 2. Wash all salads,
vegetables, and fruits before eating them. 3. Take malaria prophylaxis
ECONOMIC AND COMMERCIAL CONTACTS
Embassy of the Republic of Gabon: 2034 20th Street, NW, Washington, DC
20001, tel. (202) 797-1000
Mission of the Republic of Gabon to the United Nations: 820, End Avenue,
room 902, New York, NY 10017, tel. (212) 867-3100
American Embassy: boulevard de la mer, B.P. 4000, Libreville, Gabon, tel.
722003; 722004; 720348; 721337, telex 5250 GO
Foreign Service Officers in the Economic/Commercial Section of the Embassy
are available and willing to brief and assist American businesspeople
Embassies in Libreville
Belgium, BP 167, Tel: 732992
Brazil, BP 3899, Tel: 733171
Cameroon, BP 14001, Tel: 732800
China (PRC), BP 3914, Tel: 724411
Cote d'Ivoire, BP 3861, Tel: 720596
Cuba, International Hotel, Tel: 732668
Egypt, BP 4240, Tel: 732538
Equatorial Guinea, BP 4262, Tel: 763015
France, BP 2125, Tel: 762031
Federal Republic of Germany, BP 299, Tel: 722790
Italy, BP 2251, Tel: 721271
Japan, BP 2259, Tel: 732297
Morocco, BP 3983, Tel: 733103
Nigeria, BP 1191, Tel: 732203
Philippines, Tel: 723490
Senegal, Tel: 721943
South Korea, BP 2620, Tel: 732584
USSR, Tel: 732746
Yugoslavia, Tel: 733005
Zaire, Tel: 720256
UNDP EDF (FED)
Tel. 722670 Tel. 732250
Presidency Ministry of Tourism
BP 546 BP 403
Tel. 72690 Tel. 721609
Ministry of Interior Ministry of Education
BP 2110 BP 6
Tel. 722181 Tel. 721741
Ministry of Public Health Ministry of Defense
BP 50 BP 546
Tel. 763032 Tel. 762590
Ministry of Post and Ministry of Commerce
Telecommunications BP 237
BP 3127 Tel. 762690
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ministry of Transport
BP 2245 BP 3974
Tel. 762270 Tel. 740490
Ministry of Public Works Ministry of Agriculture
BP 371 BP 551
Tel. 761487 Tel. 762943
Ministry of Plan
Banque de Paris et des Pays-Bas (PARIBAS)
Telex: 5265 GO
Banque Centrale des Etats de l'Afrique Centrale (BEAC)
Banque Gabonaise de Developpement (BDG)
Banque Internationale pour le Commerce et l'Industrie au Gabon (BICIG)
Telex: 5226 GO
Banque Internationale pour le Gabon (BIPG)
Citibank Union Gabonaise de Banque (UGB)
BP 3940 BP 315
Tel: 733000 Tel: 761514
This file extracted from Dept. of Commerce National Trade Data Bank (NTDB)
CD-ROM SuDoc No. C 1.88:993/12. Processed 12/01/1994 by software developed
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