Total exports of textiles and garments to the US market since the establishment of the visa system under AGOA has yielded $8 million.The introduction of AGOA has also boosted Ghana?s non-traditional exports to the US by 20 per cent from $35 million in 2000 to $42 million in 2001 and even though the 2003 figure is not yet ready, it is expected to hit $50 million.
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, disclosed this when he addressed the second AGOA forum on US-Africa Trade and Economic Co-operation in Mauritius.
The minister led Ghana?s delegation, made up of government officials and private sector representatives, to the three-day forum, which acted as a forum for information gathering, fostering partnership and sharing the concept of private sector growth in Africa.
Dr Apraku, however, observed that Ghana?s main hindrance to the full realisation of the benefits of AGOA has been her inability to meet the large demands of the US market, which is currently measured as $10 trillion. He called on the US Government to aid Ghana in her efforts towards resolving some of the problems, particularly in the areas of providing training in sanitary and photo-sanitary measures which confront some of the exportable products.
When this problem is resolved, he said, it will make Ghanaian products more eligible to the American market. Dr Apraku also called for US-Ghana collaboration in establishing mutual standards and technical specifications for exportable products, the development of a science and technology park in support of export production and the strengthening of customs capacity to enable Ghana to effectively implement the visa system which she secured in March 2002.
He thanked the US Government for its assistance to Ghana in the area of AGOA, which includes capacity-building training programmes and the goodwill it continues to demonstrate towards the country.Dr Apraku also held talks with officials of airline giant, Boeing, led by Mr Walt Brainthwaite.
At the end of the talks, the airline officials expressed the interest to establish a regional service centre in Ghana to provide maintenance services to airlines that ply the West African sub-region.Dr Apraku also used the occasion to advertise Ghana?s investment potentials and invited interested investors to visit the country and explore possible investment opportunities.
Ghana also held an exhibition, alongside other countries, to showcase her production potential, especially in the area of garments, cocoa products, handicraft and other wood products.