Members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have rounded up a preparatory meeting to move its agenda forward at the up-coming 9th World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia.
The meeting was to discuss issues of particular interest to the West African countries for articulation at the Conference.
In addition, the meeting aimed to strengthen the role of the West African states to promote trade among members and the wider international community, while addressing their own developmental aspirations of reducing poverty and ensuring sustainable development.
The ECOWAS region pursues negotiation of trade arrangements with the primary twin objectives of safeguarding sensitive domestic regional sectors and securing increased access to markets of export interest.
The ECOWAS Commission, therefore, has a direct interest in the operation of the WTO and of its decision making body namely, the Ministerial Conference.
This political forum brings together all WTO members to take decisions on all pertinent issues within the multilateral trading system.
The WTO Ministerial Conference and the potential conclusion of the Doha Round are of particular interest for ECOWAS members as they face strong challenges in their trade development agenda.
These countries general reliance on low value added commodity exports, lack of economies of scale and poor trade infrastructure contributing to a systemic lack of export competitiveness. GNA