Regulations of Commercial Registration and Business Licensing in Ethiopia

Any person engaged in commercial activity in Ethiopia needs to be registered. This page contains regulations and procedures needed to  register one's business and obtain business license in Ethiopia.

You can find the Business Registration and Licensing Procedures in Ethiopia here.

  1. The Commercial Code 1960 (provides the legal base for doing business in Ethiopia) (Download)
  2. Commercial Registration and Business Licensing Proclamation No. 686/2010 or 686/2002 EC (Download) and its amending proclamtion, Proclamation No. 731/2012(Download)

These documents can be purchased at Berhanena Selam Printing Enterprise shop at Arat Kilo.

Business Registration Regulations in Ethiopia

Business License Regulations

Certificate of Commercial Representative

Registration of trade name in Ethiopia

 

Establishment of Commercial Register:

According to Article 5 of the Proclamation No. 686/2002 on Commercial Registration and Business Licensing, there are two bodies that conduct commercial registration.

  1. A commercial resister administered by the Ministry and which has a nationwide
    application is hereby established by this Proclamation.
  2. Each bureau or the Ethiopian Investment Agency, in accordance with the power delegated to it by the Ministry and pursuant to this Proclamation, shall conduct commercial registration.

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Registration in the Commercial Register:(Article 6)

  1. No person shall engage in any commercial activity which requires business license without being registered in the commercial register.
  2. Any person shall be registered in the commercial register, at the place where the head office of his business is situated.
  3. Any person shall register in the commercial register only once, even though he carries on different commercial activities in different regions.
  4. Any person who opens branch offices in many places shall inform the registering office where his branch office is situate, the address of the branch office and his special identification number of registration by completing the appropriate application form and attaching photocopies of his commercial
    registration certificate and business license before commencing operation.
  5. As provided for under Article 105 of the Commercial Code, when any person is being registered in the commercial register, the trade name shall be included in the commercial registration by verifying that it is unlikely to create conflict with the interest of another business person.
  6. Any person, who is not registered in the commercial register in accordance with the laws which were in force prior to the coming into force of this
    Proclamation, but who has been carrying on a commercial activity under a license from any authorized government body, shall be registered pursuant to this Proclamation with in 12 months from the effective date of this Proclamation.
  7. Founders or members of a business organization shall sign their memorandum and Article of association at the Documents Authentication and Registration Office,according to standardized samples of memorandum and Article of association sent to the same office by the registering office, before applying for commercial registration,except any amendments to these signed and registered memorandum and Article of association.
  8. Before signing their memorandum and Article of association, founders or members of a business organization shall get the verification of the registering office that another business person has not occupied the name of the business organization.
  9. Where the successors and the spouse of a sole business person who was engaged in transport business, do not want to form a business organization to resume the business, one of the successors or the spouse can be
    registered in the commercial register according to the power of attorney given to him by the other successors and/or the spouse.
  10. The agreement of founders or members of a business organization on the valuation of contribution in kind shall be stipulated in the memorandum of association or in the amendment of the memorandum of association.

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Application for registration (Article 7)

  1. Any Application to register in the commercial register shall be submitted to the registering office by a person who wants to engage in a commercial activity by completing the application form and attaching the documents stipulated in this Proclamation at least one month before he starts operation.
  2. Where any application to register in the commercial register that has been submitted to the registering office is found acceptable, the registering office shall register the applicant and issue to him a certificate of registration upon payment of the prescribed fee in the regulation.
  3. When the registering office rejects the application for registration submitted to it pursuant to sub Article (1) and (2) of this Article, it shall notify the applicant in writing the reasons thereof.
  4. The Ministry shall prepare forms that shall be used for registration purposes.
  5. The Ministry shall determine the number of photographs and copies of documents that shall be attached with the application for registration.
  6. The registering office shall verify the accuracy of details stated in the application form and documents attached thereto.
  7. Copies of memorandum and Article of association to be submitted in accordance with this Proclamation shall be original copies and authenticated.
  8. The registering office shall enter in the trade register, the taxpayer’s identification number of the applying individual business person or the business organization issued by the tax collecting office, as special identification number of registration. The registering office shall use the finger print registered by the tax collecting office for individual business person.
  9. The registering office shall request the tax collecting office, in writing, to give the business organization applying for registration a taxpayer’s identification number, before registering it. The tax collecting office shall inform the
    registering office, in writing of the taxpayer’s identification number it has issued to the business organization which is under formation.
  10. Foreign investors to be engaged in the mining sector, federal public enterprises, commercial representatives, branches of foreign companies, foreign traders that come to operate in Ethiopia by winning international bids, organizations that are permitted to engage in commercial activity and foreign investors intending to buy an existing enterprise in order to operate it as it stands
    shall be registered with the Ministry.
  11. Regional public enterprises shall be registered with the bureaus.
  12. Foreign investors shall be registered only with the Ministry or the Ethiopian Investment Agency.
  13. With out prejudice to the provision of Article 6 sub Article (2) of this Proclamation, those business persons who engage in commercial activities for which license is issued by the Ministry may directly apply to the Ministry
    for registration.
  14. An objection submitted in accordance with the law against the registration of a person or a business organization in the commercial

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Forwarding of Information and Documents Relating to Registration(Article 8)

  1. The bureau or the Ethiopian Investment Agency, which has made commercial registration under this Proclamation, shall forward to the Ministry the particulars of the registration in a form designed for this purpose.
  2. The Ministry shall register in the centralregister information forwarded to it pursuant to sub Article (1) of this Article and those registered by itself, pursuant to Article 5 sub Article (1) of this Proclamation.

Legal Personality of Business Organizations (Article 9)

  1. Business organizations shall acquire legal personality by registering in the commercial register without being publicized in a newspaper as provided for under Article 87, 219, 220, 223 and 224 of the Commercial Code for theirestablishment or amendments to theirmemorandum of association.
  2. The commercial register of business organizations shall be made open for the reference of third parties.

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Obtaining Business License (Article 31)

  1. No person shall carry on a commercial activity without obtaining a valid business license.
  2. Without prejudice to the provisions of Article 42 and 60(1) of this Proclamation, the appropriate authority may order the closure of the business of the person who is found engaged in a commercial activity without a valid business license.
  3. A business person, who has registered the address of his branch office pursuant to Article 6 sub Article (4) of this Proclamation, shall not be required to obtain another business license for the same commercial activity for which he opened a branch.
  4. Where any business person violates the provisions of this Proclamation in a region where he registered and operates his branch office, the bureau of the region in which the branch office is registered may take appropriate measures pursuant to this Proclamation or may remind the appropriate authority which has issued the license to take measures.
  5. Any violation of the provisions of this Proclamation committed by the branch office shall be considered to have been committed by the head office or at the place of the issuance of the business license.
  6. The bureau shall inform in writing, the measure it has taken, to the appropriate authority that has issued the business license to the business person, in one-month time.

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Application for Business License (Article 32)
1/ Any person desiring to engage in a commercial activity shall submit to the appropriate authority application for business license by completing an application form.
2/ The applicant, shall together with his application pursuant to sub Article (1) of this Article, submit:
a) a newly issued or renewed commercial registration certificate,
b) his or his manager’s passport size photographs taken within six months time,
c) if he is a foreign investor his investment and residence permits,
d) if he is a foreign citizen desiring to be considered as a domestic investor, a document issued by the Ethiopian Investment Agency evidencing the same and his residence permit,
e) where the application is submitted by an attorney, an authenticated power of attorney and photocopies of the attorney’s kebele identity card or passport,

f) a document evidencing the capital allocated for the commercial activity, and
g) a recommendation given by concerned government office, which testifies that the business premise in which the business is to be conducted is suitable for the intended business.
3/ Any applicant requesting for the issuance of a business license, shall supply the documents prescribed under sub Article (6) and (7) of Article 10 of this proclamation.
4/ Where the applicant is a foreign investor and requests for a business license desiring to buy and run an enterprise in its existing situation; shall, in addition to the documents provided for under sub Article (2) of this Article, submit to the Ministry photocopies of his passport and document evidencing the sale of the enterprise from the Privatization and Public Enterprises Supervising Agency or where the purchase is from private, an authenticated document evidencing the conclusion of the sale, as may be appropriate.
5/ Where the applicant is a business organization, it shall together with the application submit the following documents to the appropriate authority:
a) commercial registration certificate,
b) authenticated original copies of memorandum and Article of association of the business organization,
c) passport size photographs of the manager taken with in six months time,
d) where the application is submitted by an attorney, an authenticated power of attorney and photocopies of kebele identification card or passport of the attorney, and
e) documents prescribed under sub Article (2) (c), (d), (f) and (g) of this Article.

6/ Where the applicant is a federal public enterprise or a regional public enterprise, it shall together with the application submit the following documents to the appropriate authority:
a) commercial registration certificate,
b) the law of its establishment,
c) the appointment letter of the manager and his passport size photographs taken with in six months time,
d) where the application is submitted by an attorney, an authenticated power of attorney and photocopies of the attorney’s kebele identification card or passport, and
e) documents prescribed under sub Article (2)
(g) of this Article.
7/ When an alteration or amendment is made toa business license, passport size photographs of the license holder or of the general manger shall be attached to the original and copy of the business license.
8/ There shall be submitted a certificate of professional competence in testimony of the fulfillment of the requirements set by the relevant government office in a directive, for the business a business license has been requested, and a statement signed by the applicant. The appropriate authority shall inform the concerned government office about the implementation of the directive.
9/ Without prejudice to the provision sub Article (8) of this Article government offices which issue certificates of professional competence or certificate of ownership, for commercial activities require certificate of competence, may remind the appropriate authority to demand the submission of the certificates before issuing business license.

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Issuance of Business License (Article 33)

  1. Where an application for business license is submitted to the appropriate authority pursuant to Article 32 of this Proclamation, it shall issue a business license to the applicant upon payment of the appropriate fee by ascertaining that the condition set by this Proclamation are fulfilled and that the commercial activity intended to be carried on by the applicant is not prohibited by law.
  2. Where the appropriate authority ascertains that the application for business license pursuant to Article 32 of this Proclamation is not acceptable, it shall notify the applicant in writing of the reasons for rejecting the application.
  3. Where the successors and the spouse of a sole business person who was engaged in transport business do not want to form a business organization, a business license can be issued in the name of one of the successors or the spouse in accordance with the power of attorney given to him by the other successors and/or the spouse after being registered in the commercial register pursuant to sub Article (9) of Article 6 of this Proclamation.

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Rights and Duties of a Business Person Holding a Business License (Article 34)
Any person to whom a business license has been issued have the following rights and duties?

  1. may carry on any commercial activity so long as such activity is with in the scope of the field of activity for which the license is issued, abide by the prohibitions and restrictions imposed by the provisions of sub Article (2),(3), (4), (5) ,(6) ,(7) and (8) of this Article and other laws, and depending on the type of commercial activity he is engaged in, to supply goods and services to consumers and users or to manufacture goods;
  2. shall carry on the various businesses for which business licenses have been issued in separate places or premises, where carrying on such activities at the same place or premise endangers public health and safety or property;
  3. shall not concurrently, carry on different activities where doing so entails damage to the consumers or customers; or gives rise to conflict of interests;
  4. shall display a price list for his goods and services by posting such list in a conspicuous place in his business premise or by affixing price tags on the goods;
  5. shall comply with what the nature of the business demands and render service as directed by public notice;
  6. shall display his business license in a conspicuous place within the business premise;
  7. shall not assign the business license to the benefit of any person or pledge or lease it ; and
  8. When the dissolution of a business organization is ordered by court of law, the business organization shall not use for operation the business license obtained in its own name.

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Permit for Expansion and Upgrading (Article 35)

  1. Any person desiring to produce goods or dispense service by expanding or upgrading an existing industry, or agricultural development or a service business, may apply to the appropriate authority to obtain a permit by attaching the documents specified under Article 32 of this Proclamation.
  2. After examining the documents submitted to it and ascertaining that it is satisfactory, the appropriate authority shall issue to the applicant the expansion or upgrading permit.
  3. Where the appropriate authority rejects the application submitted to it pursuant to sub Article (1) of this Article it shall notify the applicant in writing of the reasons of rejection.
  4. Any person desiring to obtain an expansion or upgrading permit shall submit together with the application, commercial registration certificate, business license previously issued to him and passport size photographs of him or the manger taken within six months time.
  5. The permit to be issued pursuant to sub Article (2) of this Article, shall serve only until the completion of the expansion or the upgrading and it shall not be used for manufacturing or production and marketing or for dispensing services.
  6. A business person who has completed the expansion or the upgrading, before starting manufacturing or production or dispensing service, may apply to the appropriate authority by attaching the necessary documents, to obtain a business license to manufacture goods or produce agricultural products or to dispense services.
  7. Where the appropriate authority ascertains that the expansion or upgrading is capable of manufacturing goods or producing agricultural products or dispensing services, shall, issue business license to the applicant upon submission of documents specified under Article 32 of this Proclamation and by the payment of the appropriate fee prescribed in the regulation.
  8. Where the appropriate authority rejects the application submitted to it pursuant to sub Article (6) and (7) of this Article, shall inform the applicant, in writing, of the reasons for the rejection of the application.

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Validity Period and Renewal of Business License (Article 36)

  1. A business license issued pursuant to Article 33 of this Proclamation shall be valid unless cancelled on the grounds specified under Article 39 of this Proclamation and as long as it is renewed pursuant to sub Article (2) of this Article.
  2. Unless the business license is renewed within four months after the expiry of the budget year in which the license has been issued or renewed upon payment of the appropriate fee, the business license shall not, in anyway, be put in use.
  3. After the expiry of the time for renewal of business licenses without penalty provided for under sub Article (2) of this Article, the business licenses shall be renewed without penalty in the following months of Hidar and Tahisas.
  4. The holder of a business license who has failed to have it renewed within the time specified under sub Article (2) and (3) of this Article, shall have it renewed within the time, from Tir 1 to Sene 30 by paying in addition to the renewal fee, a penalty of Birr 2,500 (two thousand five hundred) for the month Tir and Birr 1,500 (one thousand five hundred), for the next each month of delay.
  5. A business license not renewed within the provided for under sub Article (4) of this Article shall be cancelled after the expiry of the time made available for the renewal of the business license with penalty.
  6. Where a business license is cancelled because of the failure of the business person to renew his business license within the time of renewal with penalty; he can obtain the cancelled business license within one year after the cancellation, only when the reason for not getting the license renewed in due time is found to be acceptable by the higher official of the appropriate authority and upon payment of the double of the penalty provided for under sub Article (4) of thisArticle.
  7. A businessperson who has not got permission to obtain his business license again under sub Article (6) of this Article shall obtain the same business license without penalty one year after the cancellation of the business license.
  8. When the license holder appears for the renewal of his license, shall submit:

a) a clearance statement written to the appropriate authority at its address for the payment of income tax, other taxes, land use fee, employee’s income tax, municipality services fees and any other payment due to be paid to the government,

b) a renewed commercial registration certificate, and

c) the appropriate application form for the renewal of business license.
9. Clearance statement issued pursuant to sub Article (8) (a) of this Article for the payment of taxes or other government revenues shall not be acceptable, if, it is written so as to address several bodies, does not indicate the type of business it has been issued for and does not attest the payment of the tax and other government revenues.
10. Clearance statement issued by the tax collecting office pursuant to sub Article (8) (a) of this Article for the payment of taxes and any other government revenues, shall, lose its validity, if not used for the renewal of the business license within one month time from the date of its issuance.
11. The appropriate authority shall renew the business license when it finds that the application is complete upon payment of the appropriate fee or when it rejects the application, it shall inform the applicant in writing the reasons of its rejection.
12. A business person who changes his business’s address shall present clearance statement for the complete payment of government tax and any other revenues, to the appropriate authority of his new business address from the place of his former business operation.

13. The computation of time of renewal of business licenses provided for in this
Proclamation for business persons who use different accounts budget year otherwise than provide for in this Proclamation, as authorized by the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority, shall commence from the beginning of the authorized accounts budget year.
14. The requirements set in this Proclamation, to be met for the issuance of a new business licenses, shall be applicable to the renewal of business licenses.

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Suspension of Business License (Article 37)
1. The appropriate authority may, until such time as the short comings indicated below are rectified, suspend a business license where the license holder:
a) has failed to maintain the standards of health and sanitary conditions, environmental protection, safety measures and the quality of his products or services or has done any other illegal act in connection with his commercial activity or that he failed to observe the conditions under which the business license is issued, as confirmed by the concerned government institution or the
appropriate authority; or
b) has failed to supply accurately and on time the information requested by the appropriate authority pursuant to this Proclamation; or
c) has, in any way, violated this Proclamation or the regulation.
2. Where a business license is suspended under sub Article (1) of this Article, the appropriate authority shall notify the license holder, in writing, of the reasons of suspension and the measures to be taken to rectify the shortcomings with in a fixed period of time.

3. The license holder who has received a written notification pursuant to sub Article (2) of this Article shall have the obligation to rectify the shortcomings within the fixed period of time.
4. A suspended business license shall not be renewed. When the suspension is lifted the provisions of Article 36 of this Proclamation shall apply to it.

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Cancellation of Business License (Article 39)

1. Without prejudice to sub Article (3) of this Article the appropriate authority may cancel a business license, where the holder there of:
a) is found to have obtained or renewed his license by submitting false document or for any purpose submit a false document or false information; or
b) is found using the license for a purpose other than that for which it was issued or for unfair trade practice; or
c) has committed the faults specified in Article 37(1) of this Proclamation twice; or
d) has failed to comply with the provision of Article 37(3) of this Proclamation; or
e) has become bankrupt or ceased to operate his business; or
f) has failed to renew his business license pursuant to Article 36 of this Proclamation; or
g) his commercial registration has been cancelled.

2. Where the appropriate authority or the concerned government institution has
confirmed; that the business is dangerous to public health and safety or the nationaleconomy, a business license may be suspended and the business may be sealed until such time as the appropriate authority decides to cancel the license pursuant to sub Article (1) of this Article.
3. The appropriate authority, before deciding to cancel the license for the reasons specified in sub Article (1) of this Article shall require the license holder by letter sent to his registered address to submit his written opinion on the anticipated cancellation of the license. The license shall be cancelled where the license
holder has not submitted his opinion within 30 days from the day the letter was received by him or his opinion is not adequate.
4. Unless a business person who has voluntarily ceased his business; returns his business license to the appropriate authority within the time of renewal of license without penalty, he can obtain the business license again only one year after, starting the expiry date of the time of renewal of license without penalty.
5. A business person whose business license has been cancelled for any reason provided for in this Proclamation; other than those provided for under sub Article (7) of Article 36 and sub Article (4) of this Article, shall obtain that same business license which has been cancelled only two years after, starting from the date of cancellation.
6. A businessperson who returns his business license to the appropriate authority pursuant to sub Article (4) of this Article or who wants to obtain the same business license as new, after being cancelled pursuant to sub Article (6) and (7) of Article (36) of this proclamation, shall submit a tax clearance statement for the duration he used the returned or the cancelled business license.

Issuance of a Substitute Business License (Article 40)

  1. Any person who has his business license lost or damaged may obtain a substitute by applying in writing to the appropriate authority, which issued the license.
  2. 2/ When a request for a substitute business license ismade, a tax clearance statement given from the tax collecting office shall be submitted.
  3. A business person whose license is damaged shall return it when he applies for a substitute.
  4. The appropriate authority to which application for a substitute business license is submitted under sub Article (1) of this Article, shall issue to the applicant a substitute upon payment of fee prescribed by the regulations and upon signing a liability undertaking for the lost business license by the applicant.

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Issuance of Business License Upon Transfer of Business (Article 41)

  1. When a business is transferred to another person, the previous license shall be returned and the person to whom it is transferred shall obtain a business license in his name.
  2. Where a business is lawfully transferred to another person it shall, in advance be published in a newspaper at the expense of the person to whom it is transferred.
  3. The appropriate authority, after verifying the transfer is being made lawfully, it shall issue a business license in the name of the person to whom the business is transferred, upon payment of the appropriate fee.
  4. When the appropriate authority ascertains the application submitted to it pursuant to sub Article (1) of this Article is not acceptable, it shall inform the applicant in writing of the reasons of the rejection of the application.
  5. There shall be submitted a tax clearance statement for the duration the former license holder used the business license.

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Commercial Activities Carried on Under Other Licenses (Article 42)
Any person, who, by using another license, has been carrying on a commercial activity which is subject to the provisions of this Proclamation, without having the appropriate business license, shall apply to the appropriate authority by completing the relevant form to obtain the appropriate business license within 12 months from the coming into force of this Proclamation.

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Submission of Information (Article 43)

  1. The appropriate authority may call upon license holder to submit information regarding his operations either periodically or as otherwise specified, and it shall be the duty of the license holder to submit such information within the specified time limit.
  2. Information submitted by license holder under sub Article (1) of this Article, shall be used for the purpose of enabling the appropriate authority to carry out its duties.

Inspection (Article 44)

  1. The sectoral government offices which, pursuant to sub Article (3) of Article 30 of this Proclamation have issued directives on professional competence requirements or issued certificates of professional competence or the appropriate authority may conduct follow up and inspection activity, in order to ensure the observance of the conditions subject to which any business license is issued.
  2. Any inspector shall show his authorization paper and identification card to the person that is the owner of the business whose business premises are to be inspected or to the agent of such person.
  3. The appropriate sectoral government office shall inform the appropriate authority, as to the administrative measure to be taken, when the business person acts otherwise than the requirements on which the business license was issued or when he commits a fault.

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CERTIFICATE OF COMMERCIAL REPRESENTATIVE

Issuance of Certificate for a Commercial Representative (Article 45)

  1. Any person, desiring to engage himself as a commercial representative, shall, before starting operation, be registered with the Ministry and get a certificate of commercial representative.
  2. A commercial representative may not offer goods or services for sale or enter into contract with clients in the name of his principal.

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Application for Certificate of Commercial Representative (Article 46)

1. Any person desiring to obtain a certificate of commercial representative pursuant to Article 45 of this Proclamation, shall, by completing the appropriate application form submit to the Ministry, the following documents together with the application:
a) certificate of commercial registration in the commercial register of the Ministry,
b) a statement of activities to be carried on by the commercial representative,
c) a bank statement ascertaining that he has brought into the country a minimum of USD 100,000 (hundred thousand American Dollars) during the budget year of the issuance of certificate for salaries and operational expenditure of the budget year,
d) the exact address of the office of the commercial representative;
e) if the premise of the office of commercial representative is his own a title deed or if it is a leased one an authenticated contract of lease and a verification issued by kebele administration as to the address of the premise,
f) where the applicant is a foreign national his statement of undertaking that he will produce a residence and work permit from the appropriate government institutions immediately after the issuance of certificate of commercial epresentative.
2. The Ministry shall, after having ascertained that the documents submitted pursuant to sub Article (1) of this Article are complete, issue the certificate of commercial representative upon payment of the appropriate fee.

2/ A commercial representative may not offer goods or services for sale or enter into contract with clients in the name of his principal.

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Activities Permitted for Commercial Representatives (Article 47)
The following activities are permitted for commercial representatives:

  1. to promote in Ethiopia, products and services of the principal;
  2. to study projects that will enable the principal to make investments in Ethiopia;
  3. to promote export products of Ethiopia in the country of the principal.

Renewal of Certificate of Commercial Representative(Article 48)

  1. Any person, who has obtained a certificate of commercial representative, shall have it renewed within four months from the beginning of the budget year upon payment of the appropriate fee.
  2. Where the commercial representative fails to get renewed his certificate of commercial representative within the time specified under sub Article (1) of this Article, the provisions of sub Article (3), (4) and (5) of Article 36 of this Proclamation shall apply.
  3. Any commercial representative, requesting for the renewal of the certificate of commercial representative, shall, by completing the appropriate application form submit the following documents to the Ministry together with the application:

a) a bank statement for the transfer into the country of the amount of money stated under sub Article (1) (c) of Article 46 of this Proclamation, for the budget year,
b) where the commercial representative is a foreign national, work and residence permits renewed for the current year.
4. Where the Ministry finds that the application submitted is complete, it shall renew the certificate of commercial representative upon payment of the appropriate fee.

Registration of Trade Name

Establishment of Trade Name Register (Article 22)

  1. A trade name register to be administered by the Ministry is hereby established by this Proclamation.
  2. The Ministry or the branch of the Ministry or regional bureaus or the Ethiopian Investment Agency based on the delegation given to it by the Ministry shall conduct trade name registration as indicated herein under while conducting commercial registration.

Duties of the Ministry (Article 23)
The Ministry shall:

  1. conduct trade names registration
  2. register in the central trade name register particulars of trade names registration forwarded to it by each bureau or the Ethiopian Investment Agency and deposit related documents;
  3. immediately forward information requested by each bureau or the Ethiopia Investment Agency before the bureau or the Agency decides to register a trade name submitted to it;
  4. delegate and assist regional bureaus and the Ethiopian Investment Agency for the proper application of the provisions of this Proclamation on trade name registration.

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Registration of Trade Name (Article 24)

1) Any person desiring to engage in a commercial activity shall register his trade name at the place where he is registering in the commercial register.
2) Where the applicant is a foreign business organization it shall together with the application, submit to the registering office it’s properly authenticated commercial registration and trade name registration certificate issued by the country
in which it is registered or any evidence which testifies the same.
3) The registering office upon ascertaining that the trade name submitted for registration pursuant to sub Article (1) of this Article:
a) is not identical or misleadingly similar to the trade names previously registered; or
b) is not misleading other business persons and the society, in spite of the fact that it is not previously registered; or
c) the part of the trade name desired to be owned solely by the applicant is not a descriptive or a generic or a common name; or
d) that the trade name is not represented only by numbers; or
e) is not similar to the names of public bodies or public enterprises; or
f) is not similar to the name of any political party or labour union or any other
association or aid organization; or
g) a proper authorization has been obtained to use as trade names the names of renowned people or leaders of countries, if the name is so represented; or
h) the trade name of the business operated by a sole business person indicates the type of business carried on; ori) is not among trade names well known in other countries or is not the one that has international recognition, unless an authorization by the owner to use it has been secured, even though not registered as a trade name in Ethiopia; or
j) is not submitted by adding prefix or suffix to an already registered trade name; or

k) where the trade name is an acronym that it is meaningful or is representative of the name of the applicant or where it is composed of the names of the members of a business organization that it contains the beginning letters of the members; or
l) where it is intended to use the names of countries as trade names of business organizations, that citizens coming from the countries are establishing the business organizations; or
m) where it is intended to use a trade name of a business organization or a sole business person registered in another country as a trade name of a business organization or a business of an individual business person, that an authorization is obtained and that the same is authenticated in Ethiopia; or
n) does not have similar reading sound with an already registered trade name; or
o) is not contrary to morality or public order;

shall, at the expense of the applicant, cause the publication in a newspaper which has a nation wide distribution, of a notice indicating the subsequent registration of the trade name.

4/ Where with in 15 days following publication of the trade name in a newspaper pursuant to sub Article (3) of this Article, no objection is lodged against the registration of the trade name with lawful ground to prevent the registration of the trade name, the registering office shall issue to the applicant a trade name registration certificate after the expiry of the 15 days period upon the applicants payment of the necessary fee.

5/ Descriptive or generic or common names included in a trade name submitted for registration shall not be used as points of comparison to establish the similarity and differences between trade names.
6/ Where the registering office rejects an application for the registration of a trade
name under sub Article (1) of this Article, it shall notify the applicant, in writing, of the reasons for the rejection.
7/ Trade names registered by the Ministry and regional bureaus before the coming into force of this Proclamation shall be deemed to have been registered in accordance with this Proclamation.
8/ Before the registration of a trade name in the commercial register and in the trade name register, it shall be verified that another business person has not got the trade name registered in the trade name register or in the commercial register.

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Effects of Entry of a Trade Name in the Trade Name Register (Article 26)

  1. The registration of a trade name shall be a prima facie evidence of entitlement to and validity of the same trade name.
  2. Without prejudice to Article 137 and 138 of the Commercial Code, the mere prior registration of a trade name shall not prevent the registration of the same trade name for a business with an entirely different nature.
  3. The translation of a trade name in a language other than the language it has been registered in the commercial register or in the trade name register, shall not be registered as a trade name unless it is proven that it does not entail an unfair commercial competition against the owner of the trade name that has
    been previously registered in the commercial register or in the trade name register.

Making Alteration or Amendment (Article 27)

The provisions of Article 24 of thisProclamation shall apply to a business person who desires to alter or amend a trade name he has already registered.

Cancellation of a Trade Name Registration (Article 28)

1. The registering office shall cancel a trade name registration when it ascertains that:
a) the commercial registration of the business person has been canceled; or
b) the owner of the trade name requests for the changing of the trade name, or
c) it is found out that the registration was made fraudulently.
2. Before canceling the registration of the trade name pursuant to sub Article (1) (C) of this Article, the registering office, shall, by means of a letter sent to the registered address of the business person, give him the opportunity to submit his reply. The trade name registration shall be cancelled where the reply of the owner of the trade name is found to be unsatisfactory or he fails to respond with in 30 days of receipt of the letter or cannot be contacted at his registered address.
3. Where a trade name registration is canceled, the registering office shall issue a certificate of cancellation to the former owner of the trade name upon payment of the appropriate fee.
4. Unless the owner of a trade name, which has been canceled from a trade name register pursuant to sub Article (1)(c) of this Article, has been canceled from the commercial register, the trade name already canceled shall be replaced by a new trade name.

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Substitute Trade Name Registration Certificate (Article 29)

The provisions of Article 19 of this Proclamation shall apply, as may be appropriate, for obtaining of a substitute of a trade name registration certificate.

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