Accra, Nov. 28, GNA – The non-conclusion of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) could damage the path to regional integration in the West African sub-region, Miss Hanna Tetteh, Minister of Trade and Industry said on Monday.
Speaking at the opening session of a meeting for trade experts attending the Meeting of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Ministerial Monitoring Committee on the West Africa and EU/EPA Negotiations, she called on the experts to build consensus to avoid a situation where member states agreed on different trade regimes with the EU.
“I wish to encourage you to avoid the scenario where the non-conclusion of regional EPA would result in a situation where member states of ECOWAS would involve in different trade regimes with EU,” Miss Tetteh said, adding “This can damage the path to regional integration and defeat the purpose for which ECOWAS was established.”
The EPA agreement, which is being negotiated between the EU and ECOWAS, seeks the establishment of a free trade area and elimination of import duties on products coming from member countries in the two trading blocs.
Civil society groups had argued that signing the EPA will mean the removal of tariff barriers, thus depriving West African governments of substantial revenues.