©AfreePress-(Lomé, February 2, 2022)-Traders and exporting companies can now report in record time any obstacles encountered while transporting their goods across intra-African borders. This is thanks to “Trade Barriers Africa”, an online mechanism set up to promote international trade through the removal of barriers to trade between countries of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ZLECAf).
The deployment of this device in Togo awaits, to put an end to the suffering of small traders, transporters, and SMEs who cross the borders of Togo in order to sell their products in neighboring countries.
Whether import quotas, labeling and packaging requirements, or repetitive inspections of loads, etc., certain entry and exit formalities for goods constitute a real obstacle to trade. From now on, thanks to “Trade Barriers Africa”, Togolese traders will be able to report these obstacles, also called non-tariff barriers (NTBs), and obtain their removal with the support of the national authorities.
Concretely, the trader will be able through this tool, to report any obstacle encountered during the transport of his goods across intra-African borders, for example excessive fees at the border, cumbersome document requirements, restrictive standards and regulations on products, etc
Very easy to use, Trade Barriers Africa allows any African trader to make a report in a few minutes through an online form on the website www.tradebarriers.africa
According to the officials of the Ministry in charge of Commerce, each complaint filed is directly transmitted to the representatives of the States concerned with a view to removing the barriers to trade encountered.
“Trade Barriers Africa is a concrete response to the daily problems of cross-border micro, small and medium-sized enterprises. For them to thrive, it is imperative that non-tariff barriers disappear, which not only lengthen the procedures for transporting goods, but also cost traders. Now, they have an online mechanism that will eventually allow them to trade more easily in the region, as in the rest of the continent. Just by creating an account on www.tradebarriers.africa and reporting NTBs, traders can really improve the conditions in which they do business. It is therefore crucial that they take ownership of this mechanism,” said Mr. Ognandou, National Focal Point, Ministry of Trade, Industry and Local Consumption.
African traders are invited to engage in the fight against non-tariff barriers, in order to facilitate trade on the continent.
“Engaging merchants is critical to their own success. Non-tariff barriers will be removed as they are identified. Without information on these complex situations at the border posts, no one will be able to act to resolve them. A reliable and secure mechanism has finally been developed and we encourage all players in cross-border trade, including small traders, to make use of it as much as possible. It is by using Trade Barriers Africa that we will be able to move more goods from one country to another and boost our trade,” officials from the Ministry of Commerce said.
It should be noted that the deployment of the Trade Barriers Africa online mechanism at the sub-regional level has already made it possible to eliminate more than 600 non-tariff barriers. “Recently, the report made by a Gambian trader led to the conclusion of an agreement between Gambia and its neighbor Senegal aimed at facilitating the flow of goods as well as people between the two countries”, informs the ministry, which reassures that the mechanism is being rolled out at the continental level.
“Trade Barriers Africa” is open to all African entrepreneurs including small, medium and large businesses, informal traders, women and young entrepreneurs.