The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has decided to reach effective application of the common external tariff from Jan. 1, 2017 by the whole of its 15 member states.
A release stated that the decision was reached on Monday night in Cotonou.
It noted that the decision had become imperative as only nine member states apply the common external tariff that came into force in January 2015.
The ECOWAS common external tariff launched during a meeting of head of states and governments in December 2014 in Abuja, Nigeria, was adopted in January 2006.
"The completion of the common external tariff will be a milestone in the establishment of a customs union as part of ECOWAS's integration programme.
The release said that it underscored that the success of the West-African integration depends on the creation of a common market through the liberalisation of trade and the adoption of a common external tariff.
It said that to reach the goal, ECOWAS assigned team of consultants in the 15 member-states to assess the situation and identify the inherent difficulties.
"A synthetic report of evaluation missions will be submitted to members of joint management committee of the common external tariff, which is expected to hold meeting next Monday or Tuesday in Dakar, Senegal," it said.
The release said that the meeting of Dakar would be the opportunity for the ECOWAS commission to work, especially with the six member states that fail to apply the common external tariff.
It noted that the Dakar meeting would help overcome existing barriers to ensure effective implementation of the common external tariff in all ECOWAS member-States from January 1st, 2017.