Market Access refers to all measures applied at the border to trade in goods. This would, in particular, include all tariff barriers applied to trade between the parties. According to the Cotonou Agreement, the aim of the EPA is to progressively remove obstacles to trade between the parties consistent with the objectives of Cotonou and in conformity with WTO provisions.
Currently WA has over 95 % free market access to the EU. The rest is lower tariffs (mainly horticulture) or duty free quota (sugar and bananas). However, the value of the market access to EU is constantly eroded by WTO negotiations, other FTA negotiations, higher standards and reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy.
West Africa’s market access offer is based on the ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET) which is classified in five tariff bands according to the following categories:
- Category 0 (0% rate) : essential social goods;
- Category 1 (5% rate) : basic necessity goods, raw materials, capital goods, specific inputs;
- Category 2 (10% rate): inputs and intermediary goods ;
- Category 3 (20% rate) : goods for final consumption;
- Category 4 (35% rate): specific goods for economic development.