African countries call for 25 years moratorium to
strengthen local industries before
signing the EPAs
Masahudu Ankiilu Kunateh, Ghanadot
Accra, May 20, Ghanadot - A Regional Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) encompassing
West African and EU is expected to be signed later this year.
Negotiations are far advanced for a draft agreement
by June 2009, and subsequently a
full pact by the end of the year.
However, a number of African countries,
members of the EPAs, have some citizens
and organizations calling on their governments not tohurriedly conclude the deal.
The latest to express misgivings about the
EPA that some call obnoxious
trade regime which is being forced on the African countries
by their European counterparts are Ghanaian farmers.
In an exclusive interview with the President of the National
Farmers and Fishermen Awards Winner Association of Ghana (NFFAWAG) in Accrayesterday,
Mr. Philip Abayori called for 25 years
moratorium to strengthen local industries before signing on
to the EPA.
He stressed African countries could not compete favourable
with the European countries in every aspect of trade, “saying
European countries give subsidies to their farmers while
African countries do not”.
Instructively, Ghana, in 2007, signed an interim Economic
Partnership Agreements (EPAs)-light with the European
Commission making her second after Cote d’Ivoire to sign the
The move was to insulate the two countries from a disruption
of their exports after preferential trade terms expired at
the end of that year.
The decision by the Ghanaian government to sign the EPA,
however, was met with a lot of backlashes from civil society
organizations which argued that the trade agreements would
only allow the European Commission to lock Ghana and other
African countries into aspects of the EPAs, over
which there were
still fundamental disagreements, including issues which had
never been part of the negotiations.
Indeed, the Interim EPAs are free trade agreements which
deal only with trade in goods. This means that signatory
African countries must therefore eliminate tariffs on
“substantially all” European goods.
The implications of the Interim EPAs are many but include:
Lost Revenue: By dropping tariffs on most European products
(from 80-98%), African countries would lose significant
amount of revenue to their economies.
A study of the Interim EPAs identified gigantic revenue
losses, such as in Kenya, Cameroon and Ghana a total of
$39.5million, $99million and $162million respectively.
Lost policy space: African countries would entirely drop
tariffs on 80-98% of all European imports.
Currently, if faced with a sudden surge of European
goods, like milk that drives the price down, African governments can
raise the import tariffs to protect African diary farmers.
With the Interim EPAs, even if powdered milk is one of the
few “protected” products, the Standstill Clause will not
allow its applied tariff to be raised.
Touching on issues confronting the agricultural sector, Mr. Abayori mentioned the lack of subsidies for Ghanaian
farmers, high cost of farming inputs, over liberalization of
the Ghana’s market to the advantage of foreign goods.
He therefore called on Professor Mills led government to
address the above challenges so as to refrain the country
from depending on donor supports.
Accra, May 20, Ghanadot - A combined
team of personnel from the Tema Regional Police Command,
National Security, Customs, Excise & Preventive Service (CEPS),
Narcotics Control Board (NACOB) and security department of
the Ghana Ports & Harbours Authority ....
Accra, May 19, Ghanadot - The
immediate past Inspector -General of Police (IGP) in the
former New Patriotic Party (NPP) administration, Mr. Patrick
Acheampong has commended President John E. A. Mills for
appointing Mr. Paul Tawiah as the current IGP in the
Accra, May 19, Ghanadot - The Ministry of Information
and National Orientation on Tuesday brought together all the
comparatively young government appointees and Ministers to
address the issue of ‘Sakawa’ which is eating into the
culture of Ghanaian youth.. ....More