Trade experts from Member States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) met virtually on the 28th May 2021 to deliberate on instruments to promote intra-regional and continental trade ahead of the ECOWAS Ministers of Trade and Industry meeting scheduled for 3rd June 2021.
In his welcome remarks, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs and Free Movement of Persons, Mr. Tei KONZI, extended a Happy 46th ECOWAS Anniversary greeting to participants and highlighted efforts being undertaken by the ECOWAS Commission to promote regional and continental integration through various trade initiatives such as the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) and the African Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
Before declaring the meeting open, the Chief Director of the Ministry of Trade & Industry of the Republic of Ghana, Mr. Patrick Nimo, underscored the importance of the Experts Meeting and highlighted the various agenda items such the establishment of trade structures, which will promote opportunities for Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs). He expressed the belief that the trade and Industry agendas would help expedite recovery from the impact of COVID19.
During the meeting, the Experts considered (i) the status of the AfCFTA negotiations; (ii) the establishment of the Regional Trade Facilitation Committee (RTFC); (iii) the establishment of ECOWAS Trade Promotion Organizations’ Network;(iv) the amendment of the statutes on the ECOWAS Business Council; and (v) the evaluation of the volume of intra-regional trade taking into account informal cross-border trade. Following the fruitful deliberations, a number recommendations were made for consideration by Ministers of Trade and Industry.
The meeting was attended by Trade Experts from ECOWAS Member States, as well as Mauritania. The ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions also participated in the deliberations.