Today, ECOWAS` total trade grew by an average of 18% per year between 2005 and 2014. It is dominated by mining raw materials (oil, iron, bauxite, manganese, gold, etc.) and agriculture (coffee, cocoa, cotton, rubber, fruits and vegetables and other more marketed products in the region (dry cereals, roots and tubers, livestock products, etc.). Nigeria, Côte d`Ivoire, Ghana and Senegal account for 87% of this trade, accounting for 79% of regional imports ($55,520 million per year) and 94% of exports and re-exports ($77.792 million per year). The programme aims to bring several benefits to Member States and their citizens in terms of trade between them. An example: one of the advantages of unprocessed products imported from a Member State, as provided for in the Council of Ministers` Decision C/DEC.8/11/79, is the total exemption from import duties and taxes, the free movement of persons without quantitative restrictions and the non-payment of compensation for lost revenue resulting from their importation. Where, among other things, unprocessed products originate from Community Member States and must be included on the list of products that are attached to decisions to liberalise trade in these products. Total trade in the region averaged $208.1 billion. Exports are estimated at about $137.3 billion, while imports are about $80.4 billion. The main active trading countries are Nigeria, which alone accounts for about 76% of total trade, followed by Ghana (9.2%) Côte d`Ivoire (8.64%). The region`s trade surplus, estimated at about $47.3 billion, is attributable to Nigeria ($58.4 billion) and Côte d`Ivoire ($3.4 billion) when all other countries have a trade deficit.
All of this has created a situation in which the Common Tariff (CET), which arrived in January 2015 in The Years, now has a real chance to give West African economies a boost while giving the citizens of the region a real chance to enjoy the benefits of trade. Trade in the Community is evolving. It was time that the old trade relations were still abandoned to maintain the stock exchanges in the region.