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Wednesday, 22 September 2010

ECOWAS lawmakers caution on EU trade pact

Lawmakers in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have cautioned against any decision to open up the region’s market “too wide and hastily” to the European Union (EU) as part of the concession for reaching a trade agreement between the two regions. Both regions have since 2003 been negotiating a World Trade Organisation (WTO)-compliant Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) for the creation of a free trade area that would define their trade and economic relations for the next 20 years. The lawmakers urged regional leaders to “strongly defend their position” regarding the proposal by the EU for the scrapping of ECOWAS levies imposed on imports into the region from third countries as they constitute independent sources of financing regional integration as well as funding the Community’s activities and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). Concerned about the multiplicity of trade regimes in the region, the legislators underscored the need for an impact assessment of the recent agreements on regional integration, stressing that efforts should be made for the speedy conclusion of the EPA negotiations in order to remove the stumbling block the two agreements pose to the region.

Source: Trade Law Center for Southern Africa

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