ECOWAS Ministers of Trade and Industry adopt key regional trade instruments and reaffirm their commitment to multilateral trading system

Thu, May 4, 2023
By editor


THE ECOWAS Commission organized the 3rd Joint Meeting of the ECOWAS Ministers of Trade and Industry, ECOMOTI in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire from 27th – 28th of April 2023, to consider, approve and recommend key trade policy instruments to the ECOWAS Council of Ministers for adoption.

The meeting featured a round table with the World Trade Organization, WTO, to discuss the outcomes of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference (MC12) and preparations for the MC13.

In his welcome remarks, Souleymane Diarrassouba, Minister of Trade, Industry, and Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, welcomed the Ministers of Trade and Industry, as well as Officials from the WTO Secretariat, ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions to the meeting on behalf of Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire.

He emphasised the need to examine the best ways to strengthen economic integration, industrial development, and promotion of intra-regional trade, as well as to better integrate the region in international trade. He applauded the leadership of the WTO Director General (DG) which led to the successful outcomes of MC12, in particular the Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies.

In his opening remarks, Abas Jalo, Minister of Trade of the Republic of Guinea Bissau and Chair of the 3rd Joint Meeting of ECOMOTI, commended the ECOWAS Commission for its effort to finalize regional trade instruments based on the directive of the 2nd Joint Meeting of ECOMOTI held in Abidjan in November 2022. He thanked the Ministers and the WTO DG, as well as the ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions for their collaborative efforts to position West Africa to take advantage of trade opportunities. He called on the WTO to ensure that the multilateral trading system benefits Developing and Least Developed Countries.

In her remarks, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, DG of the WTO, expressed her appreciation to ECOWAS Ministers of Trade and Industry for inviting the WTO Secretariat to their meeting.

She noted that making full use of trade, continental integration and the multilateral trading system could help ECOWAS propel economic growth. She stated that the current economic juncture offers important opportunities for the continent, but in order to seize these opportunities, African countries need to lower trade costs that are among the world's highest. Looking ahead to MC13, she underscored the important contribution that ECOWAS can make to showing that the WTO can keep making a difference for people, for the planet, and for Africa.

On behalf of Omar Alieu Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission, Madame Massandjé Toure-Litse, ECOWAS Commissioner for Economic Affairs and Agriculture, thanked