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Economic Zone Parliament approves Economic Partnership Agreement with EU

This was after the Economic Community of West African States has delayed in taking a decision as to whether to sign the EPA in their current form or not. It is believed that an ECOWAS response to the EPA would grant the sub regional body and its member countries a bigger bargaining advantage

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Parliament of Ghana play

Parliament of Ghana

Parliament on Wednesday ratified the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union.

On Monday, August 1, 2016, the government signed the interim Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union.

This was after the Economic Community of West African States has delayed in taking  a decision as to whether to sign the EPA in their current form or not. It is believed that an ECOWAS response to the EPA would grant the sub-regional body and its member countries a bigger bargaining advantage.

The European Union gave West African states a deadline of  November, 2016 to sign the agreement or pay duties on exports to the European market.

However, signing the Economic Partnership Agreement would grant exporters duty-free access to African markets, except exporters of  rice and sugar.

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Foreign Affairs Minister, Hannah Tetteh revealed in July, that Ghana was waiting for a unified response from ECOWAS as to whether to sign the agreement or not.

With that not forthcoming, Ghana has gone ahead to sign an interim agreement, awaiting a more substantial move from ECOWAS.

Some economists have kicked against the decision to sign the EPA in its current form, as it will grant countries of the European Union access to 75% of Ghana’s market.

The Ghanaian Ambassador to Belguim signed the agreement in Brussels during the weekend, making Ghana the second country to sign the agreement in the West African sub region after Cote D’Ivoire.

Job loss

The Coordinator of the Third World Network, Dr Yao Graham, warned that 40,000 jobs could be lost if Ghana signs the EPA in its current form.

Speaking at the Graphic Business/Stanbic Bank Breakfast Meeting in Accra recently, Dr Graham said the job losses would affect nascent industries.

“Overall the term of the EPA are not beneficial for Ghana or West Africa. The EPA will lead to a loss of jobs and other means of livelihood

"In the manufacturing and other industrial sectors, the EPA will cost about 40,000 jobs in ten years.

“We also anticipate that there will be a collapse of domestic industry especially in the life manufacturing sector.

"It will also undermine ECOWAS economic integration and the wider process of intra Africa trade and lead to the loss of government revenue from trade duties,” Dr Graham said.

Also, Dr Graham said a study by the Network reveals that Ghana will lose $126 million in import tariffs.

The figure corroborates a study by the Ministry of Trade and Industry in which it was estimated that Ghana could lose tariff revenue to the tune of $150 million.

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