Ghana opens up to duty-free European goods as EPA kicks off

Business News of Friday, 6 February 2015



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Majority of goods and services from Europe will now be imported into the country without paying the necessary duties and taxes on them.

This follows Ghana’s decision to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement in January after the regional body ECOWAS initialed the pact in December 2014.

Some businesses are worried that the agreement will result in the collapse of local industries because of the influx of goods and services from Europe.

But Trade and Industry Minister Ekwow Spio-Garbrah argues that the agreement rather presents an opportunity for Ghanaian firms to rise to the occasion.

“This is an agreement that will take many years, with many safeguards that are to protect certain industries from dumping; or from low-cost products coming [[to Ghana] from any part of the world including from the European Union…”, Dr Spio-Garbrah said.

He said the plus side of the agreement has always been ignored by critics.

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“People look at what your opponent can do to you in these agreements but we don’t look at what we too can with them with the opening up of their markets and the opportunities that are available now for Ghanaian importers and exporters. My emphasis really is how can Ghana take advantage of the European market, the Asian market and the US market?

“The fact that Ghana today cannot produce one single tea spoon of sugar has nothing to do with Europeans or Americans”, he said.

The EPA essentially allows Ghanaian firms to have 100 percent access to the European market.

However, according to the UN Economic Commission for Africa, Ghana could lose a little over 300 million dollars in revenue every year when it signs that pact.