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Overseas Trade: West Africa

Department for International Trade written question – answered on 5th December 2018.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Secretary of State for International Trade, what discussions he has had with the Economic Community of West African States on trade with the UK after the UK has left the EU.

Photo of Graham Stuart Graham Stuart Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for International Trade)

On leaving the EU, the Taxation (Cross-Border Trade) Act will enable the Government to put in place a UK trade preferences scheme for developing countries. This will provide the same level of access as the current EU trade preference scheme meaning continued duty-free, quota-free access for Least Developed Countries which are part of the Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS) and generous tariff reductions for other ECOWAS countries.

In the absence of this regional agreement, EU ‘stepping stone’ Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana have been provisionally applied since 2016. As the UK exits the EU, we aim to replicate the effects of these EPAs to avoid trade disruption with these countries. We have been in dialogue with both Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana to achieve this continuity.

Currently there is no agreement in force between the EU and the 16 West Africa States, the Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS). Should this change, the UK would look to transition the agreement.

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