Business News of 2014-04-18

Gov't to undertake impact assessment of interim EPAs

The government is to undertake an impact assessment of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) that has existed between the country and the European Union between 2007 and 2014.

The outcome of the assessment, which is due to commence this month, will then inform government’s decision on whether or not to sign the actual EPA or another IEPA with the EU.

The Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Haruna Iddrisu, said at the Meet the Press series in Accra that a committee of experts was being constituted to undertake the cost-benefit analysis of the initial agreement, which heralds ongoing negotiations between the EU, a 28-member grouping in Europe, and its counterparts in West Africa.

Mr. Iddrisu said the country had until October this year to decide on whether it wanted to commit to the EPA, which would open the country’s market to imports from Europe and also enable easy access of made-in-Ghana products to the Eurozone.

He explained that the decision to undertake an assessment of the IEPA stemmed from the myriad of agitations from civil society organisations (CSOs) against the signing of the original EPA.

The EPA is a partnership agreement proposed by the EU to replace similar economic agreements that existed in the past between the Eurozone members on one hand and the Economic Community of West African Sates (ECOWAS) on the other hand.

In spite of the fact that the agreement enables cross-border benefits between the two sides, some CSOs have kicked against it, explaining that the impoverished nature of the country’s industrial sector put it at a disadvantage in agreements of that nature.

However relevant these agitations from the CSOs might be, the minister said there was no empirical data to proof that EPA was inimical to the socio-economic wellbeing of the country.

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