The ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) is the main ECOWAS operational tool for promoting the West Africa region as a Free Trade Area. This lies in tandem with the one of the objectives of the community which is the establishment of a common market through  “the liberalisation of trade by the abolition, among Member States, of customs duties levied on imports and exports, and the abolition among Member States, of non-tariff barriers….”. – Article 3 of ECOWAS Treaty
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Why a Free Trade Area is needed

  • Encouraging entrepreneurial development in the region.
  • Increasing intra-regional trade and boosting economic activity.
  • Increasing West African competitiveness on the global market.
  • Increasing GDP of member States, thus better welfare for citizens.


  • Calculation of the proportion of 60% local content of products (b) to (i) cited in article 3, paragraph j of the ECOWAS Treaty:
    {∑ QLocal ⁄ ∑Q (Local + Foreign)} × 100 ≥ 60%
  • The criteria for change of tariff headings, which must be reflected in the first 4 digits of the HS code
  • The calculation of value-added which must be at least 30% of the ex-factory price minus taxes of the products (article 4, paragraph 2 of the mentioned protocol):
    VA⁄Ex-factory Price × 100 ≥ 30%
    Valued Added (VA) is the total ex-factory price minus CIF Value (or taxes) of raw materials and consumables. Components determining ex-factory cost price include: Raw materials, consumables, packaging and other expenditure borne by the company. Please note: Salaries and wages must not be more than 20% of the ex-factory cost price. Works, supplies, and external services must not be more than 10% of the ex factory cost price and must be directly tied to production. Financial charges must not be more than 30% of the ex factory cost price.”