May 6, 2011 / 10:16 AM / 8 years ago

Ivory Coast due to resume cocoa exports on Saturday

ABIJDAN (Reuters) - Ivory Coast will resume cocoa beans exports on Saturday, more than three months after they were halted by the West African country’s post-election political crisis, industry officials said on Friday.

Last week exporters resolved a row with the new government of Alassane Ouattara over how to make customs payments, paving the way for exports to resume.

The CGFCC cocoa sector management committee had previously said it expected exports to resume today, helping ease ICE cocoa futures.

But a CGFCC official, an official at the port and a cocoa exporter said the first boat to pick up the beans was now due to arrive on Saturday. All requested anonymity.

“The first boat due to load the beans arrives tomorrow and another one will come on Sunday,” the port official said.

An exporter from a multinational company confirmed that his boat was the one expected to arrive on Sunday.

However, it was not yet clear when exports of semi-finished products would resume.

Nearly half a million tonnes of cocoa has been held up at the West Africa country’s ports by a conflict that has lasted more than four months and only eased this month with the arrest of former president Laurent Gbagbo.

Gbagbo had refused to step down after he was judged to have lost a November election to his rival Ouattara, sparking a power struggle that killed thousands of people and wrought havoc on the economy.

Exporters said early last week that a demand by customs authorities that duty be paid in cash instead of by cheque was delaying the resumption of cocoa exports, but the dispute was later resolved.

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