Government outlines strategic interventions for EPA

The Ministry of Trade and Industry has launched a series of safe-guard measures dubbed the ‘EPA Accompanying Measures Strategy (EPA-AMS)’ in Accra, to address possible challenges that the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Ghana and the European Union (EU) may pose to the Ghanaian economy in the future.

Under the theme ‘Getting the most for Ghana’, the EPA-AMS is designed to prepare Ghana to ensure that policies are in place to meet the challenges posed by the EPA — such as reduced tariff protection for some industries and lower tariff fiscal revenues from EU imports, and also to enable Ghana take full advantage of the opportunities available.

Experts have indicated that some of the challenges involved may include loss of trade tax revenues from import duties, and the out-competing of domestic producers by those from the EU; hence, hurting Ghana’s manufacturing sector as well.

A study by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), has revealed that Ghana is likely to lose up to US$380million annually, due to decreased international trade tax revenues.

However, addressing the forum, Dawarnoba Baeka, Chief Director, Ministry of Trade and Industry, highlighted opportunities of the EPA and entreated all stakeholders to endorse the strategy that has been designed for the programme.

“The EPA will improve our access to imported European inputs and machinery to help our firms compete with the best in the world, and Ghanaian households will benefit from reduced tariffs on other products.

“Leveraging these opportunities will be crucial in achieving our goal to raise Ghana’s earnings from non-traditional exports to US$5billion by 2017,” Mr. Baeka added.

Additionally, the EU is set to allocate €6.5billion to West African countries for the first 5 years of the agreement, out of which €200million is targetted for Ghana to facilitate financial and technical assistance to help develop the trade capacity and trade-related infrastructure needed for implementation of the EPA programme.

The EPA between the EU and West Africa was endorsed at the ECOWAS Heads of State Summit in Accra on 10th July, 2014 to address complaints by some developing countries about preferential trading arrangements accorded by the EU to the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) countries.

Mr. William Hanna, Ambassador of the European Union, commended government for the EPA-AMS initiative and urged manufacturers in Ghana to be more concerned about international standards.

“By adopting the EPA’s accompanying measures strategy, Ghana is showing once more its commitment to implement the Agreement; but Ghana needs to ensure that international standards and regulations are enforced to avoid any disruption in its access to the EU market,” Mr. Hanna said.