“Ghana’s Exports into EU market will be protected” – Spio assures exporters
The Minister of Trade and Industry Dr. Ekwow Spio- Garbrah has assured Ghanaian exporters into the European Union (EU) market that “government will take every necessary step to protect Ghana’s exports within the framework of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA)”.
According to him, the Ministry is currently seeking cabinet’s inputs and support on options opened to Ghana in the wake of the 1st October, 2016 deadline under the current EU regulation granting Market Access to Ghana.
“In the coming weeks, hopefully in May, government will announce its position on the EPA. Let me however assure all exporters and their employees that government has much interest in ensuring economic growth, increase in employment as well as an expansion in export trade and industry and will do whatever it takes to protect Ghanaian exports into the EU”.
Dr. Spio Grabrah made this comments when a delegation of the major exporting companies in Ghana paid a courtesy call on him in Accra, to express their concerns over a possible lack of Market Access into the EU by October 1, 2016 deadline.
Briefing the Minister, the Coordinator of the group, Mr. George Kporye, Corporate Affairs and Administration Manager of Golden Exotics Limited said stakeholders, customers and staffs of the various companies are getting nervous of losing their investments and jobs and therefore appealed to the Hon. Minister to intervene.
Explaining the situation, the Director of Foreign Relations at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr. Anthony Nyame-Baafi said with the exception of Nigeria, the Gambia and Mauritania, 13 of the 16 ECOWAS countries have signed the EPA.
“Unfortunately in order to ratify the EPA, all the West Africa countries need to have signed in line with the modalities in the EPA negotiations before its implementation could commence,” he emphasized.
Mr. Nyame-Baafi indicated that there were four policy options opened to Ghana under the current circumstance which includedseeking an extension of the current EU regulation granting Market Access to Ghana and other Interim EPA (IEPA) eligible countries from 1st October 2016 to 1st October 2017.
He said the second option will be for Ghana to request for the IEPA to include the favourable terms in the ECOWAS EPA since the latter has more favourable terms for both parties and promotes regional integration which Ghana has been an avid advocate in the region.
He further explained that the third option is for Ghana to expedite action to sign and ratify the IEPA which was initialled in December 2007 to secure and also guarantee uninterrupted market access for its exporters.
The last option will be for Ghana to draw up compensation mechanisms for companies exporting to the EU, especially for non-traditional exports before the end of August 2016.
Some of the companies present at the meeting were Bomark Farms Ltd., Barry Callebaut, Golden Exotics, Ghafco Company Ltd, Volta River Estates Ltd.,Pineapple Exporters Association and Federation of Ghanaian Exporters.