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Mr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah
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The Minister of Trade and Industry Mr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, has prevailed on government officials and private citizens who travel outside the country to take advantage of their visits to promote investment opportunities in Ghana.

He said they could also arrange with Ghana’s missions abroad to organize meetings with investors to market the numerous potentials in the country.

The Trade and Industry Minister made call when the Spanish Ambassador to Ghana, Madam Maria F. Alonso, paid a courtesy call him at his office.

Mr Spio-Garbrah said Ghana and Spain have had extensive collaboration over many decades and bilateral trade had seen an increase in trade volumes to the advantage of Spain.

“We need to reverse this trend” the Minister said adding that ‘As a country, we cannot have a programme to reduce imports from Spain, what we are doing is to launch a campaign to promote goods and services produced in Ghana, especially for exports”, he said.

Reducing trade deficits

Mr Spio-Garbrah said “Over the years, our focus has been on generic trade but if we are to reduce our trade deficits, then we also have to focus on investments that add value to our natural resources”.

That, he said required more agro-processing , for example converting cocoa and fruits into chocolates, juices and other products for the local and export market.

Mr Spio-Garbrah intimated that what Ghanaians wanted now was to see Spanish companies coming to Ghana to add value to the country’s raw materials for the domestic and foreign markets.

The Trade and Industry Minister expressed the hope that his tenure will see an increase in the promotion of foreign direct investment into Ghana, as against import-led trade which had not favored Ghanaians.

On the issue of the proposed bilateral investment treaty with Spain, Dr Spio-Garbrah was of the view that such treaties were important and needed to be signed and ratified in order to give foreign investors the necessary comfort.

He noted, however, that such agreements were far from being “bilateral” as it was quite unlikely that any Ghanaian company, in the short term, would be making any significant investments in Spain.

The Minister noted that Ghana had signed many bilateral investment agreements but regretted that these have been more tilted to the benefit of other countries and could well be called unilateral agreements to protect investments from other countries.

According to the Minister, another area where Ghana had good potential is in cotton production where it could grow and process cotton into textiles and garments for the Spanish market thereby adding value to an important raw material.

In her remarks, the Spanish Ambassador, Madam Alonso said her visit was to deepen the commercial exchange that had existed between the two countries.

She said that in 2006, a bilateral investment treaty was negotiated and Spain had ratified it but Ghana was yet to ratify to make it operational.

Consequently, she requested the minister to encourage the early signing and ratification of the treaty.

She noted that with Ghana’s continued successful growth, it would soon be possible for Ghanaians to also invest in Spain.
Source: Graphic Online

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