ECOWAS holds inaugural forum for national trade facilitation committee

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THE trade experts from Member States of the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, will validate the Terms of Reference, the roadmap of the National Trade Facilitation Committee, NTFC, and review the process of establishing the Regional Trade Facilitation Committee, RTFC.

The two-day meeting, which  opened on Tuesday, 10th, September 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria aims to coordinate the implementation of the World Trade Organization-Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO – TFA, within the region in order to boost inter and intra-regional trade.

Tei Konzi, the Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement of the ECOWAS Commission, stressed the importance of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme, ETLS, Common External Tariff, CET, Customs Codes, Free Movement protocols, Joint Border Posts, and the negotiations and implementation of the Trade agreements in promoting regional and economic integration.

“The implementation of all these ECOWAS initiatives combined with commitments made under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, TFA, are the cornerstone for trade expansion within the region,” he said.

Also speaking during the meeting, the Representative of the German Development Agency, GIZ, Kelechi Reginald Okoro, emphasized the importance of the forum, which he said will be transformed into an institutional platform for the harmonisation and coordination of regional trade facilitation policies cutting across trade, customs, transportation and the private sector.

While acknowledging the giant strides, which have been made in regional trade, the participants called for the political commitment of Member States in the implementation of the policies and protocols in order to address challenges within the sector.

“The simplification and harmonisation of transit regulations, establishment of transit guarantee mechanisms and sustainable mechanisms for proper coordination of regional trade facilitation initiatives will serve to boost trade across the region,” they said.

The Ambassador of Netherlands to Nigeria Ewout de Wit and the Representative of the Nigerian government, Aliyu Abubakar, Deputy Director of Trade also lent their voices to the forum and called on participants to use the opportunity to create effective synergies that will harness their resources for effective implementation of regional and national trade facilitation related policies and protocols.

 

– Sept. 11, 2019 @ 17:30 GMT |

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