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Economic Partnership Agreement Manufacturers urged to be innovative to stay competitive

The agreement enjoins member states to open up 70 percent of their markets to European goods over a period of time, prompting fears nascent companies may collapse since most European goods are of high quality and a lot cheaper than local goods.

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Dr Ekow Spio Garbrah play

Dr Ekow Spio Garbrah

Ghanaian manufacturers have been urged to be innovative in order to stay competitive as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) move to sign the  Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union.

READ MORE: Ghana considers signing interim EPA

The agreement enjoins member states to open up 70 percent of their markets to European goods over a period of time, prompting fears nascent companies may collapse since most European goods are of high quality and a lot cheaper than local goods.

ECOWAS countries will in turn have one hundred percent access to the European Market except for rice and sugar.

Speaking to journalists at an award ceremony for trade facilitation actors in Accra, Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Ekow Spio Garbrah warned of market instability if the EPA is signed.

“As the EPA also requires the ECOWAS market to open their markets over a period of time, it is the Ghanaian manufactures not exporters, who if they are not competitive, may face challenges from European imports which may be cheaper better quality and more attractive to the consumers,” said Dr Garbrah.

Trade experts have cautioned against the EPA because of the harsh competition local industries would face against European producers who enjoy massive subsidy and are well established.

READ MORE:Gov't vows to protect local exporters under EPA

Other areas of concerned experts have noted include: loss of industrial capacity, loss of tariff revenue to the tune of $150 million (according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI)), loss of employment and collapse of startups.

ECOWAS countries have up to October 1, 2016 to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement.

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