ECOWAS Ministers of Finance are expected to converge on Accra, Ghana, on Friday, November 12, 2021, to examine and approve the various Supplementary Act and the Regulations as recommended by the experts and Directors General of Customs for submission to the Council of Ministers in December 2021.
They are meant to enhance the fluidity of intra-community trade and strengthen the Customs union across the region.
To ensure an effective review of these draft texts, there will be a technical meeting of the Joint ECOWAS-UEMOA Committee for the management of the ECOWAS Customs union from November 8-10, 2021.
This regional meeting of experts will be followed immediately by a meeting of the Directors General of Customs of ECOWAS member states on November 11, 2021.
With the implementation of the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) on 1st January 2015 in member states following the Declaration of the Authority of Heads of State and Government at its 46th Ordinary Session held in Abuja on 15th of December 2014, this marked an important milestone in the establishment of a Customs union in the ECOWAS region.
This aligns with the provisions of Article 3 of the Revised ECOWAS Treaty on the establishment of a common market in the Community.
With the implementation of the CET in 14 ECOWAS member states and Mauritania and the advent of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) the need to reform other equally important trade facilitation and Customs instruments to make the ECOWAS region a strong and economically competitive community has become imperative.
These trade and customs instruments relate to the regulation and automation of transit procedures in member states and the reforms and management of intra-community trade-in “made-in-ECOWAS” goods among others.
Aside from the Ministers of Finance from member states, the Directors General of Customs of ECOWAS member states, Experts from the customs and Industry/Trade/Finance experts across the ECOWAS member states, The Islamic Republic of Mauritania, ECOWAS and UEMOA Commissions are all expected to participate at the meeting.