Business News Wed, 19 Sep 2007

ACP countries not ready to compete with EU countries

Ho, Sept. 19, GNA - Togbe Aklika Ahorney II, Regional Programme Officer of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), has said even though the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) was not totally bogus, there were a lot of mind-boggling issues that needed to be addressed. He said the sudden implementation of the agreement could traumatize many governments with disastrous consequences since it emphasized trade among regional blocks instead of countries. Togbe Ahorney was speaking on the topic 'Effects of EPAs on Agriculture' at a one-day forum organized by Ghana Trade And Livelihood Coalition (GTLC).

GTCL is an advocacy organization comprising non-governmental organisations, civil society groups, community-based organizations as well as farmer and producer groups that advocate for trade justice. The forum, which was attended by over 50 participants, was on the theme "The Effect of the EPAs On Ghana's Economy". Togbe Ahorney said under the proposed EPA, farmers and producers from many of the world's poorest countries would be forced into direct and unfair competition with efficient and highly subsidized EU producers. Regional integration among ACP countries would be severely undermined with substantial loss of revenue.

He said since the agreement emphasized trade among regional blocks, these blocks should first be strengthened to make them capable to trade among themselves before extending it to their European partners. Togbe Ahorney said unless ACP countries became more competitive and able to offer products that could face international competition, including their own markets and to surmount all kinds of non-tariff constraints, the EPAs would turn out to be of little benefit to them.


Mr. Vital Agbley, Regional Director of Trade and Presidential Special Initiative who spoke on the topic 'Effects of EPAs on Industries,' said the government would not sign any trade agreement that would be detrimental to the development of the country and also lead to the collapse of industries.

He said reciprocal measures would be taken to enable all countries to develop their economies when the agreement was signed. Mr. Agbley said the EU had a large market for Ghanaian goods and advised farmers and manufacturers to meet their standards. The EPAs is a free trade agreement that is being negotiated between the EU and the ACP group of nations.

Source: GNA