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ECOWAS urged to strengthen regional integration by reducing non-tariff barriers to trade

Trade experts have called on member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to step up efforts to minimise burdens that non-tariff measures (NTMs) place on businesses in the region.

At a June 14-15, 2016 meeting in Côte d’Ivoire’s economic capital, Abidjan, the experts highlighted that countries needed to diversify and increase their portfolio of exports, set up trade obstacle alert mechanisms, and standardise technical and regulatory requirements.

The event, organised by the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) had a series of business surveys on NTMs in Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea, Mali and Senegal, carried out by ITC. These explore and identify how NTMs hinder the smooth flow of goods across sectors and markets.

The surveys indicate that majority of obstacles faced by businesses apply to both countries within ECOWAS and partners. In fact, in the six surveyed ECOWAS countries, 73% of the firms surveyed agreed that they faced burdensome NTMs (on exports and imports) both within and outside the ECOWAS region. Around 26% oppressive NTMs were reported by agriculture exporters who encountered them in their respective home countries. In the manufacturing field, 32% of NTM cases recorded are related to obstacles faced in the various ECOWAS member countries.



Crédits: AK-Project