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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Gambia brainstorms on WTO’s trade agreement ahead of signing

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A 4-day workshop on the establishment of a trade negotiations mechanism for The Gambia between stakeholders and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Employment and Regional Integration is being held at Sunswing Hotel, Kololi. 

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In opening the workshop, the director of trade, Mr Abdoulie Jammeh, thanked participants for their response in attending the workshop.

He also encouraged and counted on their fruitful participation and inputs in order to facilitate the preparations on what position The Gambia should take in the signing of the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation.

Commenting on the sidelines of the seminar, Mr Gibriel Bah, representing the World Trade Institute Advisors, a consulting firm that facilitated the establishment of the trade negotiations agreement of which the workshop forms part of, said: “Conducting a workshop on the project is very much relevant and beneficial for The Gambia. 

“The project has been executed for one year and is winding up and the Gambia being a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) which warranted the minister of trade and a delegation to attend the 9th ministerial conference on trade facilitation negotiations in Bali from 3rd to 6th December 2013 where the agreement on trade facilitation was reached.

“It is against this backdrop that the ministry deemed it fit to convene a workshop on the matter with its stakeholders to seek out views and opinions before any signing of the trade facilitation. And the workshop is in lieu of providing stakeholders with the background to signing that agreement. The workshop is also designed to facilitate a review for our traders in the export sector who, time and again, face dire challenges at borders in transacting their businesses. 

“It is also geared towards enabling such traders easy crossing procedures and co-operation. So their participation would give us insights and ideas that we can use as a commitment in presenting our stance on the issue.”

Mr Bah further stated that the workshop is sponsored by Trade Advocacy Fund, a branch of the UK Department for International Development. Ms Birgit Viohl, trade facilitation expert from Germany is coordinating the workshop. Group works on organisational structures of the various institutions drawn from both public and private sectors were presented to participants during the course of first day. In attendance are UTG, Gambia Police Force, Ministry of Agriculture, Gambia Bureau of Statistics, ministry of Interior, Ministry of Fisheries & water resources, ministry of Justice, GIEPA, Gambia Standards Bureau, GAMHOPE–FSQA (Food Safety & Quality Authority), Ministry of Transport, Works & Infrastructure, GAMPLASH Enterprise Ltd, and Gambia Tourism Board. The remaining days of the workshop are expected to see discussions in areas such as implementation, and compliance assessment about the WTO agreement on trade facilitation. The meeting will close on Thursday with the adoption of final recommendations by the stakeholders.

 

By Ousman Bojang

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