The Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) has announced that members states in the sub region would from January 2015 adopt a Common External Tariff (CET) for goods coming in from outside the region.
Mr. Felix Kwakye, Customs Specialist for the ECOWAS Commission made this known on Monday when ECOWAS held a workshop at the on-going Trade Fair on the theme “Regional Integration through Trade”.
He said the CET when implemented would take over all national tariffs by member states and would help achieve custom union in the region.
He said the CET would ensure that any goods coming outside the sub region attract the same duty irrespective of the country it is taken to whiles goods from members states attract no duties.
He disclosed that several measures have been put in place to ensure the smooth implementation of the CET and this includes anti-dumping measures, countervailing, safeguard measures and supplementary protection measures.
He assured that the CET would help consolidate the regional market, reduces trade deflection due to tariff harmonisation and also stimulates investment in the region.
Mr. Kwakye stated that ECOWAS is also determined to ensure the full implementation of the trade liberalization scheme in order to promote free trade union among member states.
He said Mr. Blaise Campore, the President of Burkina Faso has been appointed to oversee the implementation of the scheme whiles a task force had also been established to resolve implementation bottlenecks and annual evaluation.
Dr Sacko Saydou, Programme Officer of Trade for the ECOWAS Commission bemoaned the activities of some personnel in the various borders across the region, who continuously harass people and extort money from them.
He urged the victims of such harassments and extortion who are citizens of member states to report the officers to their governments for the appropriate punishment to be given.
He said there is huge market in the sub region and called on the heads of state to unite and move the region forward.
Participants at the workshop also called for a political will from the leaders of member countries in order to achieve the aims and objectives of the ECOWAS union.
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