Sierra Leone enjoys preferential access to key markets
The Government of Sierra Leone supports global economic integration as it increases volume of trade as well as offers other economic opportunities. Because of our membership, Sierra Leone has preferential access to markets in the European Union, the United States as well as in other countries.
The European Union offers full preferential access through the Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative. The EBA, which has been in force since March 2001, extends duty-free and quota-free access to imports of all products other than arms originating from Sierra Leone. The Cotonou Agreement also promotes partnership between European Union states and African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States.
Access to the U.S. market is governed by the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), which offers duty-free access for a number of products until 2015. There is considerable potential to increase trade under AGOA. There is no export figure under the AOA scheme from Sierra Leone to the US Market from 2010 to date. For a complete list of products eligible for exports to the United States and more information on AGOA, visit www.agoa.info
Sierra Leone joined the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the interests of establishing a customs union and common market to promote the free movement of goods and people in West Africa. ECOWAS’ mission is to promote economic integration in all fields of economic activity, particularly industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial questions, social and cultural matters.
Finally, in pursuit of implementing the protocol on free movement of goods and person, the Ministry of Trade and Industry has established a Committee to oversee the implementation of the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS). The ETLS is a tool to facilitate the working of the Free Trade Area. It ensures that good can be circulated freely without the payment of customs and taxes with similar effects on imports.
The ETLS is open to every enterprise located and operating in any of the ECOWAS Member States that intend to export the product within the region under the following conditions:
- Wholly produced goods, goods whose raw materials completely originate from the region.
- Goods which are not wholly produced but their production requires the exclusive use of materials which are to be classified under a different tariff sub-heading from that of the product.
- Goods which are not wholly produced but their production requires the use of materials which have received a value added of at least 30% of the ex-factory price of the finished goods.
It must be noted that goods manufactured in the free zones or special economic schemes involving suspension or partial or total exception of entrance fees do not qualify for originating products status.
Exporters wishing to benefit from the ETLS should obtain the export application form from either the ECOWAS Website: www.etls.ecowas.int or from the Director of Foreign Trade, Ministry of Trade and Industry.