Heads of State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have postponed the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) for two more months.
According to the leaders, even though they are satisfied with the EPA, they still want to iron out some issues before finally appending their signatures.
The heads of state met in Ivory Coast to among other things, deliberate on whether to sign the EPA or not.
The EPA allows countries to export goods to the EU without tariffs or maximum quotas, under World Trade Organization rules.
This also means that once signed the agreement is signed, it will warrant that within two decades, about 80% of that country’s market should open to European goods and services tariff-free.
But Civil Society Organizations have vehemently opposed ECOWAS’ signing on to the EPA arguing it will have dire consequences on the various economies.
Speaking to Citi News, the Minister of Trade and Industry, Haruna Iddrisu said a final decision will be made when the leaders meet in May.
He explained the two-month period will be used by negotiators to “iron out and clarify on issues which largely were raised by Nigeria and other countries…”
According to him, the concerns which were raised bothered on matters relating to revenue losses and compensation for revenue losses against the development fund of 6.5 billion Euro which has been promised or pledged by the EU from 2015 to 2020.”
The ECOWAS technical committee earlier presented a report on the EPA and Mr. Iddrisu says, the report was considered and the heads of states were satisfied with the progress that has been made.
By: Efua Idan Osam/citifmonline.com/Ghana