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EPAs high on the agenda at West Africa summit

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Dakar, 25 October 2013/ ECOWAS/ ACP: Today's Extraordinary Summit of the West Afircan economic community ECOWAS will be focusing mainly on economic issues including the the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between West Africa and the 
European Union, the finalisation of the Common External Tariff (CET) and the Community Integration Levy (CIL), says a press release by the Group.
 
After opening statements by President of the host country, Macky Sall, the 
Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara, current Chair of the Authority of ECOWAS 
Heads of State and Government, and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Kadré 
Désiré Ouédraogo, the meeting will go into closed-door sessions to consider the 
Commission President’s memorandum on the consolidation of the regional market 
and the report of the last Extraordinary Session of the Council of Ministers.
 
At that Council meeting held on 30th September 2013 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, 
the Ministers made a number of recommendations to regional leaders, particularly 
on regional monetary cooperation, the EPA negotiations and the ECOWAS CET.
 
On the CET, they adopted a Community Regulation on supplementary protection 
measures with an import adjustment tax and a supplementary protection tax. 
The ministers also agreed on a five-year transitional period for the application 
of the import adjustment tax and the implementation of the CET from 1st January 
2015, with provision for its annual assessment.
 
They recommended that the status quo be maintained on the community levy for a 
five-year transitional period, during which a study would be conducted with a 
view to reaching a convergence on a single rate and a uniform scope. 
Council equally recommended that necessary measures be taken for effective 
implementation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) and for an 
annual evaluation of the scheme.
 
On the EPA negotiations, the ministers authorized the West African negotiators 
to continue discussions with the European Union on the basis of a new market 
access offer.
 
They urged both sides to reach compromises on all the outstanding issues bearing 
in mind the development imperatives of West Africa.
 
Council further called on ECOWAS Member States to take all necessary measures 
for the creation of the second West African Monetary Zone as soon as possible 
and recommended that a Head of State be designated to drive the process.
The Dakar Extraordinary Summit is also expected to discuss other regional 
monetary cooperation matters and other topical issues, particularly the 
political situations in Mali, Guinea-Bissau and Guinea. 


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