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  • ***In Abuja, today (19th June), ECOWAS-15 Regional Stakeholders commenced technical meeting to finalize the Market Access Offer (Schedule) of Tariff Concessions for Trade in Goods, for the operational launch of the AfCFTA, in July, 2019 *** The Goods Market Access Offer (Schedule) shall establish the 90% level of ambition (non-sensitive) and sensitive lists, and staging periods, for the ECOWAS-15, in the AfCFTA. In the AfCFTA, the ECOWAS-15 is negotiating, collectively, as a Customs Union (CU), with a common, undifferentiated Goods Schedule that shall preserve its integrity as a Customs Union *** Nigerian Trade Negotiators were in Addis from 20th May to 8th June to participate at technical negotiations, policy meetings and bilateral engagements, preparatory to the 12thExtraordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) for the “Operational Launch” of the Agreement Establishing the AfCFTA, scheduled for Niamey, Niger, on 7th July. Ambassador Osakwe, Nigeria’s Chief Trade Negotiator, led the Nigerian Delegation *** In Addis, the Nigerian Delegation participated at the meetings of the 15th Negotiating Forum (NF) of the AfCFTA; Senior Trade Officials (STOs) of the African Union; and, the 8th Meeting of the African Ministers of Trade (AMOT). Ambassador Osakwe, DG NOTN and Ambassador Albert Muchanga, AU Industry and Trade Commissioner, with their Teams, undertook a detailed technical review of the legal and policy status of the AfCFTA and the envisaged draft package to be submitted for decisions to the 12th Extraordinary Summit of the AU Niamey Summit *** WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, on the margins of the OECD Ministerial Meeting in Paris, participated at the WTO Informal Ministerial meeting on 23 May. Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, at the WTO Informal Ministerial, urged Ministers to address systemic challenges and advance negotiating work in parallel. Azevêdo advised intensified work on fisheries subsidies, if there was to be a successful outcome by the agreed end-of-year deadline ***

Nigerian Coalition of Services Industries Elects Co-Chairpersons from NSE & NBA

Nigerian Coalition of Services Industries (NCSI) yesterday (28/8/18) held its Second Meeting with participants from the Nigerian Services Regulators, Services Operators, and competent authorities. Ms. Irene Robson-Ayanwale and Seni Adio, SAN from Nigerian Stock Exchange and Nigeria Bar Association, were elected as Co-Chairpersons to drive the work of the NCSI for the next year. Mrs. Ayanwale and Mr. Seni Adio, SAN, while accepting their roles as co-chairs noted that it was important that NOTN remain as Secretariat and continue providing support to the private sector-driven exercise with contributions and partnership from MDAs with competent jurisdiction. Ambassador Chiedu Osakwe, DG NOTN, who convened the NCSI, stepped down as the chairman, underlining that “NCIS shall be private sector driven for its sustainability. The NOTN shall continue to provide Secretarial services. He also informed NCSI participants that the “government is determined that the NCSI shall not fail. Services trade was critical to the growth and modernization of the Nigerian economy, accounting for approximately 55% of the economy”. Speaking further, he referred to the recent GDP Q2 2018 data from the National Bureau of Statistics. The NBS Report had made evident the vital importance of Services Sector to growth in the Nigerian economy. Pointing to the Report, he noted that: “the 2.05% growth of the non-oil sector was driven by the services sectors of transportation, electricity, construction, telecommunication, water supply and sewage and broadcasting representing the strongest growth in non-oil GDP since Q4 2015.” He reminded the meeting that “there was no schedule for specific commitments on Trade in Services in the ECOWAS and Nigeria’s only Services Schedule had been deposited at the WTO in 1994. There was a pressing necessity for expedited action on a Services Schedule for Nigeria for growth, modernization and job creation”. The Second Session of the NCSI advanced work on an updated Draft Schedule of Specific Commitments for Trade in Services, geared to growth, investment attraction, job creation and modernization of the Nigerian economy. A timeline of end of August was agreed for the completion of this work. It will be recalled that Nigerian Coalition of Services Industries (NCIS) was launched by the Nigerian Office for Trade Negotiations on the 24th of July, 2018 to function as a lobby group to support trade in services and formulate inputs on positions for Nigeria in domestic, regional and continental trade negotiations. The NCSI yesterday effectively transferred the process to the private sector, while retaining the NOTN as the Secretariat.