Report - Evaluation of the Implementation of the Trade Liberalization Scheme (TLS)

This Report is intended to describe the situation of the implementation of the Trade Liberalization Scheme in West Africa. It covers the fifteen ECOWAS countries and focuses on questions of regional integration affecting trade. The Report comprises a review of the individual situations of the countries, along with a regional approach which puts the expected results into perspective. The drafting of the report and the procedure for the evaluation are part of a particular trade context, with a series of interrelated issues at stake, which have an impact on the final results presented.

The TLS first came into existence in 1979 and entered into force in 1990, and it is experiencing difficulties in its implementation. It emerges from the assessment that all the countries of the community have received and adopted the legislative arrangements relative to the scheme. Despite the advantages conferred by the scheme, the enterprises in the sub-region show little enthusiasm for the TLS. This process of free trade has not succeeded in significantly boosting intra-community trade. The volume of intra-community trade has never exceeded 15% of the total trade of the region. This low level of trade could be explained by the existence of huge barriers (tariff and non-tariff), as well as the collection of illegal tolls all along the corridors of the sub-region. The non-harmonization of the SPS measures, the ineffectiveness of the ISRT and the problems arising from the use of the brown card as well as the rejection of the certificates of origin are all challenges to be met.

According the report, in order to effectively address the obstacles to the free movement of goods and people, the following recommendations would be extremely useful: i) Communicate more about the scheme, ii) Set up structures (NAC) in the different countries within the community, iii) Make the Task force operational as soon as possible, iv) Define and harmonize SPS norms, v) Make the ISRT effective, vi) Make the brown card effective, vii) Encourage Member States to ratify the Bali agreement on trade facilitationk, viii) Periodically assess the TLS, ix) Establish a regional commercial legal system: There are two concrete possibilities available: give explicit commercial powers to the Court of Justice; or create a new institution to settle commercial differences, promoting specialization by the judges. Whatever the solution chosen, it should be supported by an operational mechanism for collective sanctions against those who contravene commercial obligations related to the TLS.


Regional Report

National Reports (coming soon)

Burkina Faso
Cape Verde
Côte d’Ivoire
The Gambia
Guinea Bissau
Guinea Conakry
Sierra Leone


Read 2775 times Last modified on Thursday, 16 March 2017 18:59

Information, communication and advocacy for the elimination of barriers to regional trade in West Africa.


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