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Thursday, 27 January 2011

Ghana to sign interim EPA agreement with EU

Ghana will go ahead and sign an Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (IEPA) with the European Union this year following the lack of progress at the ECOWAS level. The Interim Economic Partnership Agreement will among other things give Ghana Duty and Quota free access into the EU for all imports with transition periods for rice and sugar. Ghana will in return liberalize 80% of imports from the EU. Ghana has been pursuing a regional Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU but the process has continuously stalled because members from the West African sub-region have failed to come to a consensus on critical issues in the EPA. According to Minister of Trade and Industry Hanna Tetteh, the delay has left Ghana disadvantaged hence the need to side-step ECOWAS and seek Ghana’s interest first. “In any year, at least 40% of our exports go to the European Union, and therefore for us the EU is a significant trading partner. So notwithstanding the fact that as a regional entity we are unable to make progress, we certainly have to protect our access to markets.”