Fear of the European Union (EU) raising tariff and quota barriers to Ghanaian non-traditional exports is driving the Ministries of Foreign Affairs & Regional Integration (MFARI) and Trade and Industries (MTI) to enter into an Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (Interim EPA) with the EU.
The Interim EPA is an African country-EU agreement Ghana appears ready to succumb to in a desperate move to prevent the EU from totally slashing the “duty free, quota free” condition Ghana non-traditional exports currently enjoy.
Speaking to the media at MFARI in Accra, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hanna S. Tetteh, said the current EPA agreement is set to expire on October 1, 2016, and since the re-negotiated Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to EU EPA is not yet fully rectified, Ghana cannot sit idle till the old one expires.
Hanna Tetteh was speaking at a meeting called by the two ministries to discuss with representatives of exporters the implications of the October 1 deadline arriving without the creation of the interim Agreement.
She listed some of the challenges that would pose to Ghana.
She explained that the non-traditional exporters are the first in line to suffer, followed by companies that supply raw material and provide service to those non-traditional-export companies.
And employment in both levels of companies will drop as they will be compelled to retrench workers when trade barriers go up in Europe, she added.
“Again, with quotas and tariffs raised against them, Ghanaian companies will lose their competitive urge on the EU market vis-à-vis African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) countries, and since La Cote d’Ivoire already has an EP agreement, businesses in Ghana will re-locate there”, she said.
Obviously, many businesses are bound to suffer if “we do not have an interim EPA by October 1, and so we need to discuss the implications to reach a consensus on what to do, Hannah Tetteh affirmed.
Speaking to Today, the Public Relations Officer of MTI, Nana Akrasi Sarpong, explained that of the 16 ECOWAS members, all except Nigeria, Mauritius and Gambia have rectified the sub-regional EPA. Unless those three sign the agreement, it cannot come into effect, he observed adding that till then Ghana cannot allow the current EPA to expire to the detriment of her non-traditional export sector.
Source: Today Newspaper
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