Lomè, Togo, Wednesday, 7 December 2016, ECOWAS Trade Ministers convened at the Sarakawa Hotel in Lomè to take stock of trade developments impacting the region and provide recommendations to the Heads of State.
The Ministerial meeting was chaired by the Honorable Deputy Minister of Commerce and Trade Services, Honorable Stephen Marvie, Jr., whose technical expertise became an important element in the interpretation of the discussions coming out of the Trade Experts’ meeting which was held for two days prior to the Trade Ministers meeting.
The one-day Ministerial meeting was called to pulse check development regarding the West Africa – European Union Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the impact of the ratification of the interim EPAs by Ghana and La Côte d’Ivoire, a Competitive Observatory Framework for the EPA, WTO tariff renegotiations for member states, the African Union Continental Free Trade Area Negotiations, the trade initiatives of the United States of America, such as, Trade Africa, Power Africa, West Africa Trade Hub, and the Millennium Challenge Support, and preparations for the 8th ECOWAS Trade Fair scheduled to take place in Niger in 2017. The meeting also discussed requests by other trading partners, namely, the People’s Republic of China, Turkey, Indonesia, and India to open free trade negotiations with the ECOWAS region.
The meeting was opened by speeches from Honorable Louali Chaibou, Honorable Commissioner of Trade, ECOWAS, Honorable Mrs. Bernadette Legzim-Balouki, Minister of Trade, Private Sector Promotion and Tourism, Republic of Togo, Honorable Steve Marvie, Deputy Minister for Trade Services, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Liberia.
The Chair of the Experts’ meeting, Mr. Lowell Wesley, Director of Knowledge Management, made a presentation of the technical report.
The deliberations were focused on the following issues