ABUJA – By Innocent Odoh The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has moved to improve economic integration within the region by building the capacity and increasing the awareness of members of the Nigerian media through a two day sensitization workshop on International Trade Agreements, with focus on the EU/West Africa Economic Partnership Agreement- EPA.
The ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs, Free Movement and Tourism, Mr.Laouali Chaibou, during his opening remarks on 6th September 2016 in Abuja, emphasised the importance of the media in disseminating factual information in order to enable Community citizens have a better understanding of the EU-West Africa EPA, a statement issued on Friday by the media section of the commission, said.
‘The ECOWAS Commission remains committed to building West Africa’s capacity on trade policy formulation and negotiation of International Trade Agreements in order to ensure that West Africa can benefit from the opportunities of the international trading system and use trade as a tool for economic development and poverty reduction,’ he said.
Similarly, Mr.Richard Young, Deputy Head of the EU Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS stressed the need for countries to be integrated into the world economy in order to sustain long term growth.
It is important for Nigeria, being the biggest economy in the region, to explore and improve trade with its neighbors and the international Community, He added.
Hence, He stated that the EPA will give West African countries unrestricted access to the European market, but the West African market will only be opened to the EU in phases over a period of twenty years with policies put in place that will protect infant industries in the region.
The ECOWAS Director of Trade, Dr.Gbenga Obideyi gave members of the media a detailed insight into the terms of the EU/West Africa EPA, multilateral trading systems, regional trade agreements, market access opportunities and the history of the World Trade Organization, the statement said.