Business News of Mon, 20 Mar 20171

Shippers Authority sensitizes shippers on WTO trade facilitation agreement

Shippers and trade related agencies have been urged to take advantage of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement for effective trade facilitation.

The Agreement came into force on February 22 this year with other African countries like Mauritius, Niger, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Zambia, Mali, Madagascar and Gabon ratifying theirs.

At a sensitization program in the Eastern Region organized by the Ghana Shippers Authority on the WTO trade facilitation agreement last Wednesday, the Eastern regional Shipper Committee were schooled on the details and “do’s and don'ts” of the agreement as well as its benefits to trade facilitation.

The entry into force of this agreement, seeks to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods across borders.

The full implementation of the trade facilitation agreement is forecast to slash members’ trade costs by an average of 14.3 percent, with developing countries having the most to gain. The agreement also aims at reducing the time needed to import goods by over a day and a half and to export goods by almost two days, representing a reduction of 47 percent and 91 percent respectively over the current average.

The Ghana Shippers Authority which is responsible for shipper education has sensitized shippers and related trade agencies in almost all ten regions of the country through its regional shipper committees. This is to ensure that shippers understand the agreement to help them carry out their activities appropriately.

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Head of Shipper Services at the Ghana Shipper’s Authority, Mrs. Naa Densua Aryeetey, speaking to Maritime, Trade and Transport News’ Doris Frimpomaah Adunyah, said Ghana is committed to the trade facilitation agreement.

“Ghana has established the national trade facilitation committee to monitor the progress. Ghana has its own measures that it can immediately implement. We call it the category ‘A’ measures. The WTO knows that Ghana is capable of undertaking these measures in category ‘A’ right now, “she disclosed.

The Tema branch Manager of the Ghana Shippers Authority who is also in charge of the Volta and Eastern regional Shipper Committees, Mrs. Monica Josiah, urged shippers to take advantage of the trade facilitation agreement.

She is hopeful the benefits that the Agreement brings on board will turn around the fortunes of the shipping and trade related sectors.

“The Ghana Shippers Authority’s mandate is to protect and promote the interest of importers and exporters so any kind of agreement that seeks to do that; the Authority will make the importers and exporters and even the implementing agencies aware of it. We have tackled almost all ten regions of the country with the Volta Region next on line.” She said.

“The Authority is also serving on the national trade facilitation committee so we would be aware of what the other agencies are doing which will also help the process,” she added.

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Deputy Chairman of the Eastern regional Shipper Committee who also works with Trans Global EBA, Emmanuel Opoku Amankwah, hailed the WTO trade facilitation agreement and expressed gratitude to the Ghana Shippers Authority for its numerous sensitization programs.

“This education will help all our members. Shippers Authority has done us a lot of good by explaining into details what this agreement is all about.”

Another member of the committee, Stephen Twumasi Acheampong, said the agreement will help shape their day-to-day activities.

“We thank the Ghana Shippers Authority for taking us through this Agreement. I am sure this will serve us a great purpose,” he said.

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