Local economy will suffer if unfair trade practices are unchecked – GITC

The Executive Secretary of the Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC), Mr. Frank Agyekum has emphasized the significance of his outfit’s work in safeguarding Ghanaian companies from unfair trade practices on the international stage.

According to him, international trade is akin to war and all manner of tactics are deployed to undercut competition in the global arena.

One of such common unfair trading practices he said, is dumping, where the price of a product sold in the importing country, in this case Ghana, is less than the price of that product in the market of the originating country.

Mr. Agyemang said this price discrimination strategy is done deliberately to offset competition from local industry with the ultimate goal of monopolizing the local market.

“For instance a product at the country of origin sells at 100 dollars but despite freight charges and taxes, still sells at 80 dollars in the importing country. The purpose is to dump the market in the receiving country, make sure our industries are disabled, and then eventually those companies from the original country can monopolise the product in the host country. When that happens, the local companies are unable to make profits and expand as they want to because market share is reduced or taken over by the foreign entities. When local industries cannot expand, they lay off workers, and are unable to pay the requisite taxes to help develop the nation.”

He said, the GITC, Ghana’s trade remedy institution has since its inception four years ago been correcting some of these practices going against the local economy.

Mr. Agyekum revealed that the GITC has over recent years worked on six cases of dumping with the ruling in favour of Aluworks, the local manufacturer of aluminium products in Ghana, prominent among them.

According to him, the Aluworks case led to an anti-dumping duty imposed on the foreign perpetrators.

He expressed that it is the wish for GITC to close several other petitions in favor of Ghanaians, but Ghanaian companies often lack the requisite data to back their claims.

He urged such companies to endeavor to collect and keep data in their business dealings to enable the GITC mediate for them effectively.

He said all the developed countries Ghana and its African counterparts seek to emulate, take such contingency measures to promote local industry very seriously and African countries must pay equal attention to what happens on their turf.

Mr. Agyekum lamented that sadly only four other countries in Africa have set up institutions like the GITC to serve the purpose of checking these unfair trade practices.

“I believe there should be more countries because we compete with countries who know what they are about who do everything to ensure that they get what they want. We have to put measures in place to ensure that we match them boot for boot. If not, we will always be found wanting”

The Executive Secretary of the Ghana International Trade Commission said it has become more imperative for Ghana and its counterparts in the continent to create such structures in the era of the Free Trade Area.

“If we are not careful about these things, others more advanced than us in terms of production capacity, will come in and swarm the market and we will end hosting the secretariat and yet not getting the right benefits from AfCFTA,” he articulated.