Ghana must add value to export products to benefit from EPA
The outgoing European Union (EU) Ambassador to Ghana, William Hanna says Ghana will not benefit from its Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU, if it fails to add value to the products it exports.
Mr. Hanna, believes the EPA gives Ghana an opportunity to increase its revenue by producing and exporting more to the European Union market.
Ghana’s parliament in August, 2016 ratified the interim EPA after nine years of signing unto an interim agreement.
Speaking to Bernard Avle on the Citi Breakfast Show, Mr. Hanna called on the private sector to take advantage of the EPA agreement.
“The original economic partnership agreement was based on the idea of West Africa as a wide regional market which allows investors who come for business to export from anywhere. The agreement, however, needs to be implemented. That’s where the problem sometimes can be found, the implementation,” he said.
Mr. Hanna stated that African countries are in a better position to benefit from the EPA.
“I’m pleased that the EPA is there because it signed and ratified and it now guarantees that access without any limitation of time for all of Ghana’s products, be they from agriculture or manufacturing.”
For Ambassador Hanna, no benefit will be derived from the deal if the country does not take advantage of the agreement.
“The thing now is to take advantage of it, because the agreement itself does not create trade. The private sector creates trade, the investors create trade, and that’s where it gets a bit sticky. Because if Ghana is not producing more goods of high quality then you can’t take advantage of the agreement.”
The EPA agreement with Ghana provides duty-free quota-free access to the EU market, and ensures continued favourable access to the EU market, for made-in-Ghana products.
In accordance with the provisions of the Cotonou Agreement, the countries of the West African region (ECOWAS and Mauritania) decided to negotiate with the EU an Economic Partnership Agreement, designed as a tool for sustainable development, economic growth and regional integration. Negotiations for the regional EPA were concluded in 2014. Ghana’s parliament however ratified the interim EPA in 2016.
The then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hanna Tetteh defended the ratification of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Ghana and the European Union (EU), saying it will protect jobs and improve the local economy.
The Trade and Industry Ministry under the then John Mahama administration also justified the agreement saying Ghana signing onto the agreement will save the country a total of €400 million in export taxes to the European Union (EU) annually because taxes and duties that will be paid on Ghana’s exports to the EU will be scrapped following the signing of the Agreement.
As at 2016 West Africa was the EU’s largest trading partner in Sub-Saharan Africa. The EU was also West Africa’s biggest trading partner, ahead of India, China and the US.
The EU meanwhile accounted for 24.5% of West Africa’s exports and 28.5% of West Africa’s imports. In value, EU – West Africa trade two years ago amounted to € 45.5 billion