ECOWAS Experts Meet On Draft Common Schedule Of Specific Commitments On AfCFTA

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The Eight (8th) Regional Meeting on the Trade in Services Protocol under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), was held virtually on 17th June 2022. The Regional meeting was preceded by a 3-day ECOWAS Commission Internal Technical Working Group (TWG) meeting on Trade in Services to consider the AfCFTA verification reports for ECOWAS Members States and provide proposals for their consideration.

To date, a total of forty-three (43) African countries are State Parties to the Agreement of the AfCFTA, including twelve (12) ECOWAS Member States. Concerning Trade in Services, forty-eight (48) State and Non-State Parties have submitted their Offers on the five (5) priority sectors namely Business Services; Communication Services; Financial Services; Tourism and Travel-Related Services; and Transport Services.

In his opening remarks, Professor Paul KURUK, representing the Ministry of Trade & Industry of the Republic of Ghana, on behalf of the Director of Bilateral, Regional and Multilateral, expressed his gratitude to the ECOWAS Commission for its continued support to Member States on the development of the respective national Offers, the consolidated regional Offer, as well as its overall assistance towards forming common positions within the framework of the AfCFTA negotiations. He invited Experts to address the comments from the verification report in their final Offers.

On behalf of Mr. Tèi KONZI, ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs & Free Movement, Mr. Kolawole SOFOLA, Acting Director of Trade, recalled the support provided by the ECOWAS Commission to Member States as part of effort at ensuring that the regional offer is in line with negotiation modalities as well as the regional integration agenda. He added that the recent bilateral sessions organized by the ECOWAS Commission with Member States, provided an opportunity to discuss issues raised from the verification reports. He concluded on theimportance of submitting a regional Schedule of Specific Commitments for consideration by the AfCFTA Senior Officials for onward transmission to AfCFTA Council of Ministers.

The 8th Regional meeting reviewed the draft ECOWAS Offer which takes into consideration recommendations from the verification report. Various requests from third parties to ECOWAS Member States were also considered. The meeting committed to finalizing the outstanding issues in the respective national Offers and resubmit to the ECOWAS Commission for consolidating into the Regional Schedule for onward submission to the AfCFTA Secretariat.

The meeting was attended by Trade in Services Experts from ECOWAS Member States and Mauritania; Officials from the ECOWAS Commissions; and Resource Persons.

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