Economic Community Of West African States
The 11th Meeting of the joint ECOWAS-UEMOA Committee for the Management of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) opened in Cotonou, Benin Republic on December 5, to review the draft CET Nomenclature, based on the 2012 version of the Harmonized System and the draft ECOWAS CET prepared by the two regional blocs in Banjul, The Gambia, last April.
In preparation for our participation in the Ecowas MMC meeting on EPAs that is currently underway in Accra, The West Africa CSO Platform on the Cotonou Agreement (POSCAO) and the Economic Justice Network of Ghana (EJN) met on Sunday 27th November 2011 to review the state of affairs in the West Africa – EU EPA negotiations and to update West African CSO positions and contributions to this process. The POSCAO/EJN meeting which was hosted by the Secretariat of the Africa Trade Network, also based in Accra adopted a number of positions which we now share with you.
Despite disagreements, the Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the European Union is not stalled, Dr Gbenga Obideyi, Director of Trade of ECOWAS has said.
Since the beginning of the year, the Trade and Industry Minister, Hon Hannah Tetteh has continued with her push for Ghana to sign and ratify the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) that was initialled in 2007 to save small proportion of exporters whose main export destination is the European market.
The Ghana government is likely to tell ECOWAS of its plans to go solo on the signing of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) when Trade Ministers in the sub-region meet in the country later this month.
The Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI) is spearheading a capacity-building project to increase trade flows between neighboring ECOWAS countries and the European Union.
The subject of trade barriers has been a recurring issue in the country for years. Thus, a forum that emphasised the need for African countries, West African countries in particular, to trade with each other was organised Thursday by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI).
After Look East, India is now adding a ’Focus West’ chapter to its trade policy. Under increasing pressure from China, especially in Africa, New Delhi is now moving ahead with plans to sign three comprehensive economic partnership agreements (CEPA) that would include free trade pacts in goods and services. In addition, the government has started work on upgrading its preferential trade agreement (PTA) with Mercosur”comprising Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay”commerce & industry minister Anand Sharma said.
West African lawmakers have cautioned against any decision to open up the region’s market “too wide and hastily” to the European Union as part of the concession for reaching a trade agreement between the two regions.
Deputy minister of Trade and Industry has assured the people of Sierra Leone and ECOWAS states that her ministry with its trade partners will soon be more resourceful in market investment.
National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) on Monday said the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations had created some reliefs that could promote regional economic integration in the ECOWAS sub-region.
Knotty issues impeding conclusive negotiation of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) can be resolved if the private sector in West Africa is involved in the process, according to ministers from the sub-region in charge of the talks.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is urging the European Union (EU) to show real monetary commitment to a proposed development fund for the subregion.
Economic Partnership Agreement negotiations between West Africa and the European Union are in a limbo due to differences over market access, the regional grouping ECOWAS said on Tuesday.
The National Association of Nigerian Traders have voiced concerns over what it calls inflexibility on the part of the European Union in the ongoing negotiations between it and the Economic Community of West Africa States over the Economic Partnership Agreement.
Ghana may be compelled to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement in its current form come October if discussions on the agreements are not finally concluded by ECOWAS.
Dr Cheikh Tidiane Dieye, Trade Programme Co-ordinator for Civil Society Organizations in West Africa, is sure that negotiations would probably continue till January 2010 since both the EU and ECOWAS had not agreed on the percentage of the market they intend to be liberalized.
The European Union and the West African countries have agreed to conclude a regional agreement on trade in goods and development cooperation by October 2009.
Now, Africans are hitting back at Europe
There were strong indications last week that the free trade agreement between Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the European Union may not be signed before its subsisting deadline-June 30th 2009 because of the need to protect the collective regional interest of ECOWAS States.