Delays in VAT refund and shipping issues undermine Rougier finances
Rougier International, with timber businesses in Gabon, Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and Cameroon is facing extreme financial problems.
French media sources quote two main causes, Rougier is owed euro 8 million in VAT credit by Cameroon and another euro 7.6 million by the Republic of Congo and Gabon. This, along with serious problems with shipping out of Douala Port, has crippled the company.
The issue of VAT refunds is a long outstanding problem for all businesses in Gabon (and other countries in the region) but there are no signs of governments addressing this.
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EU plywood imports down 7% in 2017
Source: ITTO IMM analysis of Eurostat COMEXT
Declining plywood imports were due entirely to lower arrivals of the ‘other hardwood’ plywood category. Part of this was likely due to a revision of customs product codes in 2017, which saw a large number of species previously labelled ‘other hardwoods’ now identified as ‘tropical’.
In 2017 exports of tropical plywood to the EU exceeded those from Indonesia and Malaysia. This is almost entirely due to the HS product code reclassification, as Chinese ‘mixed red hardwood’ plywood was most affected.