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ECOWAS holds Training on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)

Abuja, 16 September, 2020. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in collaboration with the World Trade Organisation (WTO), held a virtual Training Workshop on the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement for officials from ECOWAS Institutions and Member States on 15 and 16 September, 2020.

Concluded by WTO Members in December 2013, the Trade Facilitation Agreement promises greater trade efficiency by targeting administrative barriers to trade, which delay the movement of goods and services and increase trade costs.

Opening the workshop on behalf of the Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement of Persons, Mr. Tei KONZI, the Acting Director of Trade of the ECOWAS Commission, Mr. Kolawole SOFOLA, noted that the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement is an important tool for economies to improve their business environment.

He stated that the overall objective of the Training was enhance understanding of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement amongst officials of ECOWAS Institutions and Member States in order to enable them better contribute to its implementation.

According to Acting Director SOFOLA, the Trade Facilitation Agreement contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.
Among other things, the training on WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement featured presentations on the WTO TFA provisions; WTO TFA database and the role of National Trade Facilitation Committees (NTFCs).

Participants were drawn from ECOWAS Institutions and Specialised Agencies; Member States officials; Geneva/Brussels-based officials; Chambers of Commerce and members of the National Trade Facilitation Committees (NTFCs).

Earlier, the representative of the WTO reiterated that the importance of the Trade Facilitation Agreement in simplifying, modernisation and harmonisation of export and import processes.
Bringing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement training to a close, Acting Director SOFOLA emphasised the need for capacity development for ECOWAS officials and Member States in order to enable them better contribute to the process of its implementation.

WTO Members concluded negotiations at the 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference on the landmark Trade Facilitation Agreement, which entered into force on 22 February 2017 following its ratification by two-thirds of the WTO membership.

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