Mr Tawia Akyea, the Chairman of the Tariff Advisory Board (TAB) on Thursday appealed to Ghanaians, especially those in the business sector, to support the introduction of the Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC) Bill.
He said the Bill when passed into Law, would replace the Tariff Advisory Board, which was mandated to work in close collaboration with the Ministry of Trade and Industries (MOTI) by setting out the perimetres for the introduction and acceptance of tariffs, which had been introduced by Government.
Speaking at a seminar to educate the corporate bodies and the business community on the GITC Bill before Parliament, he said, the Bill when passed would not only replace the TAB, but would primarily ensure that all trade-related issues conformed to the international and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) standards.
He said Ghana was a signatory to the Marrakesh Agreement of WTO (1994) and was, therefore, obliged to develop modalities to ensure that all its trading activities conformed to international standards.
The Marrakesh Agreement was signed in Marrakesh, Morocco, to ensure that all signatory countries developed the necessary modalities to ensure that issues pertaining to trade conformed to international or WTO standards.
He intimated that since Ghana signed unto the Marrakesh Agreement, the Ministry had developed a lot of measures to ensure that the country adhered to the rules and regulations of the Agreement, adding that, the passage of the GITC Bill into an Act of Parliament would be a major breakthrough for the sector.
Mr Akyea said the Bill, when passed, would enable the Commission to ensure fair competition for persons engaged in domestic production and international trade, and protect the domestic market from the impact of unfair trade practices in the course of international trade.
“The Bill when passed would also enable the Commission identify and recommend to the Minister tariff levels for specific sectors of the economy, conduct study and publish reports on the competitiveness of Ghana’s tariff structure, and the impact of tariffs on local businesses," he added.
He said the Commission would also inquire into and determine complaints brought before it in relation to safeguard measures to deal with the dumping of imported products unto the domestic market; and any other measure which affected fair trade determined by the Trade Minister, among other functions.
He said the Commission would be an independent one and would not be subjected to the direction or control of a person or an authority in the performance of the functions.
Mr Akyea explained that the governing body of the Commission would consist of a Chairperson, three other persons, one of whom shall be a Deputy Chairperson, an Executive Secretary and representatives from Ministries of Trade, Agriculture and Finance, who would not be below the rank of a Director.
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