ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS)

ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS) is a trade instrument designed by the Regional Economic Community. It is administered by the ECOWAS Commission through member’s states National Units to encourage duty-free trade between ECOWAS countries. The scheme offers unhindered access to the fifteen member countries and promotes economic relations within the sub-region. Countries covered in ECOWAS include: Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo,  Burkina Faso, Cape Verde.



Your benefits

As Nigeria is part of ECOWAS, all Nigerian exporters can benefit from certain Trade Agreements. The most important agreement has been established between ECOWAS member. This agreement has led to the removal of trade restrictions between ECOWAS countries (like Nigeria)

For all products covered under the ETLS it means that you are granted with concessions like:

  • No quantitative restrictions
  • Total exemption from import duties and taxes
  • Non-payment of compensation for loss of revenue for items (i) and (ii) as a result of their importation




In order to qualify for the ETLS benefits you must take some regulations and procedures into account. Products must be originated from the ECOWAS region. The ETLS commission takes into account strict criteria for the admission into the scheme:

  • At least 60% local content of products
  • At least 30% value addition for products
  • Change of tariff headings (reflected in HS-code)



Approval procedure

To get approval for the ETLS benefits you must fill in an application form. Certain documents are required for admission into ETLS:

  • Certification of Incorporation
  • NAFDAC / SON product registration certificate
  • NEPC Exporters’ certificate
  • Evidence of registration with MAN
  • Evidence of registration with NACCIMA


Your application letter with the completed application form and attached documents should be submitted to:

The Honourable Minister

Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

Tafawa Balewa House,

Central Business Area, Abuja.


The full application will be presented to a National Approvals Committee. When the application is approved you will be notified by the Ministry and get the corresponding certificate.


Check out the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme website for:
  • additional background information
  • complete explanation on procedure
  • database of approved products
  • details of member countries