ECOWAS Trade Officials validate Regional Instruments to promote Trade and Investment30 Nov, 2023
The ECOWAS Commission organized a Regional Meeting of Trade Officials in Abuja, Nigeria from the 28th to the 29th of November 2023 with the overall objective of considering to key trade issues to boost intra-regional trade, as well as West Africa’s participation in international trade.
Welcoming the officials to the ECOWAS Commission Headquarters and the meeting, Mr. Kolawole SOFOLA, Acting Director of Trade, on behalf of Mrs. Massandjé TOURE-LITSE, Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, stated that trade is at the heart of ECOWAS integration efforts adding that there is a need to develop and implement policies aimed at strengthening our national economies. Mr. SOFOLA concluded his remarks by stating that the outcome of the meeting would provide guidance to Trade Ministers in taking decisions relating to various regional trade instruments and initiatives.
In her opening remarks, Mrs. Zulaikha ABDULAHI, Deputy Director of Trade at the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment (FMITI) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and chair of the meeting, expressed appreciation to the ECOWAS Commission for organizing the meeting underscoring ECOWAS’ commitment to advancing issues of interest to the region. She stated that the meeting was an opportunity to consolidate ECOWAS’ achievements in promoting trade. Mrs. ABDULAHI recalled the objective of the meeting and called upon Officials to engage in fruitful deliberations as they consider the various trade instruments
The Trade Officials reviewed, validated, and recommended the ECOWAS Trade and Investment Promotion Strategy (ECOTIPS); and the recommendations contained in the Technical Note on Informal Cross-Border Trade (ICBT) to be presented to the next meeting of ECOWAS Ministers of Trade for consideration and adoption. The meeting also considered the progress made towards the development of the ECOWAS Common Commercial Policy (CTP); Regional Trade and Transport Facilitation Strategy (RTTFS) and; Non-Tariff Barrier (NTB) Elimination Strategy and provided further guidance towards their finalization.
The meeting was updated on the status of the negotiations and implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA); the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA); and the implementation of the outcomes of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12). Concerning the Ministerial Conference, the meeting urged the Member States to accelerate the ratification of the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement ahead of MC13 to be held from 26-29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
The ECOWAS Trade Official meeting was attended by senior Trade Officials from the Ministry responsible for Trade in the Member States and representatives of the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions. Also in attendance were representatives from the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the AfCFTA Secretariat.