Prez Mahama Endorses EPAs With Europe

President John Dramani Mahama has endorsed the controversial Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between European Union (EU) and Africa. He said he does not believe that the EPAs will be harmful to economic interest of Ghana. But civil society groups and some business organizations say signing the pact will collapse industries in the country. The agreement will allow Ghana to have 100 percent access to the European market except for rice and sugar, while EU countries will have 75 percent access to the Ghanaian market duty free and quota free. But the UN Economic Commission for Africa says Ghana is expected to lose about 300 million dollars in revenue every year if it signs the Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU. The EU is Ghana’s largest export market, accounting for more than half of all exports. President Mahama who gave the assurance when he delivered his State of the Nation’s Address to Parliament in accordance with Article 67 of the 1992 Constitution noted that Ghana was mindful of the implications of the agreements and made sure that it would inure to the benefit of the economy. In his own words: “I am optimistic about the success of these negotiations. But considering that it may not be possible for these EPAs to be concluded before the 14th October target date this year, Ghana will take into consideration transitional measures to ensure that our export is not jeopardised.” Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a sub-regional bloc has already decided to sign the economic agreement with the EU to protect exports from the region. Last month, the ECOWAS arrived at this decision after 12 years of nonstop negotiations. The European Union diplomat in Ghana, Claude Maerten, said the negotiations with West Africa on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) have concluded.