EPA instrumental to building regional, continental trade hub – EU Ambassador

The EU-Ghana Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) can serve a relevant instrument in furthering the country’s ambition of becoming a regional and continental trade hub, head of EU Mission to Ghana, Irchad Razaaly, has indicated.

This, he said, can be achieved when Ghanaian companies and businesses take advantage of enormous opportunities the agreement presents, such as enabling the importation of cheaper machinery from Europe into Ghana.

“Indeed, the EPA places Ghana in an ideal situation to take advantage of the market opportunities on the African continent.

It enables Ghanaian businesses to import quality machinery at a cheaper price from Europe to be used for processing made-in-Ghana products destined for the African market. The EPA can, therefore, be instrumental in furthering Ghana’s ambition to become a regional and continental trade hub,” he said.

The ambassador made these remarks at a seminar in Accra aimed at highlighting the opportunities and challenges for businesses under the EU-Ghana interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA).

The event, according to Mr. Razaaly, forms parts of efforts by the EU to raise awareness of the benefits in the agreement, and to encourage more Ghanaian businesses to participate to deepen the trade relation between Ghana and the EU.

The EU-Ghana interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA) is a trade and development agreement aimed at increasing the trade and reducing trade barriers, in particular, the reduction of tariffs imposed on imports of products originating from the EU and Ghana.

Signed in 2016, the Agreement covers trade in goods and provides Ghana-made products with duty-free quota-free access (with the exemption of rice, sugar and arms and ammunitions) to the EU market in exchange for 80 percent gradual asymmetrical liberalisation of tariffs for EU exports to Ghana.

Ghana’s exports to the EU are predominantly energy and agricultural products, with raw and processed cocoa being the main agricultural exports, followed by tropical fruits. Data shows that cocoa products now account for about 40 percent of the overall value of Ghanaian cocoa exports to the EU. The key EU markets for Ghana’s exports are the Netherlands, France Italy, and Germany.

The EU exports to Ghana are mostly dominated by semi-finished industrial products that go into the manufacture of finished products including cars, machinery, and mechanical appliances, refined oils, electrical machinery and equipment.

Speaking at the seminar, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Herbert Krapa, said there was the need, as a county, to promote its non-traditional exports aggressively, and make the continuous effort to access the EU markets with a more diversified portfolio of products.

He further reiterated government’s commitment to improving trading relation with the EU, while calling on businesses to take advantage of the agreement to export more to the EU as a means of improving the country’s ailing economy.

Source: thebftonline

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