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Economic Partnership Agreement Hannah Tetteh denies EU would flood Ghana’s market

Civil society groups, farmers and industrialists have raised issues with the EPA, fearing it could collapse nascent industries and ruin the agriculture sector.

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Hannah Tetteh says it is not true the European Union would flood Ghana’s market as a result of the passage of the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Civil society groups, farmers and industrialists have raised issues with the EPA, fearing it could collapse nascent industries and ruin the agriculture sector.

The Third World Network has said 40,000 jobs could be lost in the industrial sector of the economy as a result of the EPA.

Speaking on Citi FM’s Citi Breakfast Show Monday, August 8, 2016, the Foreign Minister said it was not “correct” the EU will flood Ghana’s market as a result of the EPA.

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She explained that what is “contained in the interim Economic Partnership Agreement is that tariffs on import from the European Union are going to be reduced in stages and in five years stages.”

What was negotiated in the agreement in 2007 was that in the first five years stages we [Ghana] are going to monetise on goods that are already zero-rated.

“And some of them [goods] previously had 5% tariffs rating. And so when you liberalise tariffs or you remove tariffs on something that is already zero-rated, it was something on which you were not charging duties anyway.

“And that goes for a lot the equipment that we are importing from the European Union because that makes up about 22 percent of the import that is coming from the European Union,” she explained further.

The Third World Network and the Ministry of Trade and Industry have projected that Ghana could lose tariff revenue to the tune of $150 million.

Despite the scare of revenue loss, Hannah Tetteh said analysts often overlook the fact that export to the EU market must be 85 percent local content to qualify for duty-free, quota-free treatment.

“The same will apply to import coming from the European Union into Ghana. So in other words if it does not meet the same criterion of having that amount of local content, what will happen is that it will not qualify for duty-free treatment,” she said.

Mrs Tetteh cited Blue Skies as an example of companies acquiring 85% of its  raw materials from local farmers.

She said: “[Blue Skies] is buying the majority of its produce from the Ghanaian market.”

“There are people who don’t export anything but whose jobs are dependent on the fact that Blue Skies is exporting,” she added.

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