Business News of 2014-03-24

Exporters alarmed over EU agreement

Exporters have expressed apprehension over a threat to their businesses if government fails to endorse the European Union’s Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

According to them, if government was unable to sign the agreements, exports from Ghana would likely attract higher tariffs and render them non-competitive in the market as compared to their counterparts from Asiatic countries.

Executive members of the Sea-Freight Pineapple Exporters of Ghana (SPEG) recently paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Food & Agriculture to ascertain government’s stance on the EPAs.

The exporters sought government support with regard to ensuring that the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) was ratified as the Economic Community of West Africa States’ EPA was being worked on.

Siaw-Otu Frank, Public Relations Officer of Ministry of Food and Agriculture, speaking to the media, said they were alarmed since the October 2014 deadline for the signing of the EPA was fast approaching.

The agricultural produce exporters appealed to government to expedite action on the ratification of the Interim EPA by ensuring it reached the European Parliament before they went on recess by end of April 2014.

George Kporye of Golden Exotics Company said while banana would attract 20 percent tariff, pineapple would attract between six to eight percent with tuna attracting about 24 percent tariff.

“We are appealing to government to ensure that the right things are done at the right time so we are not disadvantaged in the business since it’s a competitive business,” he said. The eight-member team comprised officials of Golden Exotics Limited, Pioneer Food Cannery Limited and Blue Skies Ghana Limited.

Clement Kofi Humado, Minister of Food and Agriculture, said the issue had already been discussed at Cabinet level and a four-member committee comprising ministers of Trade and Industry, Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and Justice had been constituted to look into the issue.

The committee was expected to brief the President as to the way forward before he attended the April Summit of the European Union in Brussels, the statement said.

On December 13, 2007, Ghana signed the interim agreement with the European Union which had been binding on Ghana pending regional decision.

The agreement, according to the European Union, would enable Ghana to benefit significantly from an improved market access to the EU.

The scheme was to create a preferential free trade area between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).

Source: Daily Guide
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