MoTIE, stakeholders validate continental free trade in service negotiations

Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Directorate of Trade at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment on Wednesday convened a one-day validation workshop of the Gambia’s Draft Schedule of Specific Commitments for AfCFTA Trade in Service Negotiations held at a local hotel in Senegambia.

The validation is part of the preparation for the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCTA) Trade in services negotiation; the ECOWAS Member States are working to submit a common schedule of specific commitments to the AU for negotiations with other African countries. The Gambia’s Schedule of Specific commitment draft report is ready for validation.

The objective of the validation is to review and update the draft report of Gambia’s Specific Schedule of Commitments for submission to the ECOWAS Commission.

Speaking at the validation session, Mr. Abdoulie Jammeh, deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Trade, Industry, Regional Integration and Employment (MoTIE) said the aim of the validation workshop was to review the draft report on AFCTA Trade in Service Negotiation.

He pointed out that African Union Member States are negotiating to establish AFCTA in trade in service negotiation, noting that almost all African countries have signed and The Gambia has ratified the AFCTA agreement on free trade; members have agreed that 90% of the products should be liberalised.

“In the area of trade in service negotiations to liberalise; five sectors have been identified. This decision is made to strengthen the implementation of the AFCTA, in areas such as transport, tourism, business sector, financial sector and communication,” he said.

He noted that at the level of ECOWAS, they have to agree as a bloc, no country will be unilateral to change the tariff as a bloc. When we all have external service it will be easier to liberalise.