EU closer to West Africa trade deal
ABIDJAN: The EU could finalise a trade agreement with West Africa’s 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) within the next three months, EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht said this week.
Negotiations over an Economic Partnership Agreement to promote free market access broke down a year and a half ago amid disagreement over the speed at which West African nations were willing to lift tariff barriers.
However Ecowas heads of state agreed last month to implement a single customs tariff regime from 2015, allowing talks with the EU to restart.
“It was a breakthrough in Dakar in October. It’s on the basis of that breakthrough that we are of the opinion we can come to a close of these negotiations any time soon,” De Gucht said.