In his first interview after Britain voted to leave the European Union (EU), the EU Ambassador to Ghana, William Hanna, has downplayed the impact of Britain leaving the 28 member states union on Ghana.
“I think we should relate the UK exit in terms of countries and in particular to Ghana as it is clear that in the short term to medium term there will be no implications," Hanna told Citi FM.
"Even if Britain decided to leave or is in the processes of negotiating her exit, the regime will remain the same for the next two years at least.
"I think the crucial thing here will be the trade and the trade relationship will not change, certainly not in the next two years and may not at all so we must wait and see,” he said.
According to her, it stands to reason that Ghana would seek to renegotiate these agreements with Britain alone, given that the UK may well be the single biggest trade destination for Ghana in the EU.
“ Even though Britain has not formally exited the EU, and the UK remains bound by previous agreements signed under the EU, Ghana will immediately start talks with the UK on a bilateral trade agreement” she said.
The UK’s decision to exit the EU also sparked public conversation as to whether Ghana will still have to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement or not.
Hannah Tetteh said Ghana has a deadline of October, 2016 to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement, failure of which will mean that non-traditional exports to EU countries will attract taxes.
“ We will have to take a decision on the EPAs as soon as possible, because clearly there is a deadline. We are currently engaging in stakeholder discussions to ensure that all aspects are taken into consideration. But a decision will have to be made soon.”
Signing the EPAs will ensure that exports from Ghana to the EU will be duty-free. But that will grant the same opportunities to similar products from EU countries, opening the Ghanaian market to EU products. This possibility has alarmed Ghanaian businesses due to possible unfair competition from EU companies.
However, the UK’s exit from the EU means that Ghana will get the chance to negotiate a more beneficial trade partnership agreement with one of the biggest economies in the world.