Business News of 2014-04-16

Trade Minister: Signing EPA will come at a cost to Ghana but…

Minister of Trade and Industry Haruna Iddrisu has conceded that the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) of the European Union (EU) comes with some costs and revenue losses but Ghana will be worse off if it does not sign the Agreement.

“If Ghana does not sign or ratify the Economic Partnership Agreement, we risk losing access to the EU market on the basis of the market access regulation which is replacing the Cotonou Trade Agreement per 2008,” Mr. Iddrisu said on Tuesday, April 15, when he met journalists in Accra.

The EPAs are meant to create a free trade area between the EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). They were intended to rectify the seeming discriminating trade agreements offered by the EU. Those agreements were viewed as incompatible with World Trade Organisation rules.

However, there is a general outcry against the government of Ghana signing the EPA. Civil society organisations (CSOs) have led the crusade.

The Minister of Trade and Industry shared in the “legitimate” concerns raised by civil society but stressed that Ghana would have to make economic adjustments in order to welcome the shocks that may follow the signing of the Agreement.

He observed that Ghana would be guided by the collective position of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), which already has countries like Nigeria – Africa’s biggest economy – agreeing to the pact