Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)
6 July 2007
Posted to the web 6 July 2007
By Joseph Coomson
GHANA HAS not yet concluded on its position on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), which is to be signed by the end of this year.
However, the country will adopt the position of the sub-regional body, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) at the end of the year, the Deputy Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development and Presidential Special Initiative, Mr. Kwadwo Affram Asiedu said yesterday in Accra.
“Government’s position will be what would be decided by ECOWAS,” Mr. Asiedu said.
The Deputy Minister was speaking as the keynote addresser at the launch of ‘All Africa Business Summit’, which comes off in Accra between September 6 and 8 this year.
On Ghana’s part, the Deputy Minister stressed that deliberations were ongoing but more time was needed to for proper scrutiny of the agreements to be made.
“With this upsurge in civil society, more time is needed to study them. “We are handicapped as to sign or not now,” he said.
He was not comfortable with a clause in the agreement, which seeks to lift tariffs. In the event of that, he said Ghana would lose revenue and create unemployment.
Civil society Movements are working to correct the imbalances in the controversial Economic Partnership Agreement currently being negotiated between the African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries and the European Union and which is due to be signed in December this year.
According to Oxfam, “The quiet advance of trade and investment agreements between rich and poor countries threatens to deny developing countries a favorable foothold in the global economy.
It stressed that the rules on liberalization of services in Free Trade Agreements has the potential of driving local firms out of business, reduce competition and extend the monopoly power of large companies.
The new rules in the EPA also pose a threat to poor people’s access to essential services. In some free trade agreements developing countries are committing themselves to let foreign investors into public utilities when the sector is opened up to domestic private companies.
The deputy minister then launched the summit.
Earlier, the President of Kingsworld Media Systems, Mr. Gordon Adjei, the organizer of the summit, said the summit would be organized around three key areas.
They are strategies for promoting successful intra-African trade, pulling down trade barriers and showcasing topmost investment attractions in Africa. The AU endorsed summit is to help improve upon the 10 to 12% trade between African countries. In all, 20 African nations, with delegates from the EU bloc, United Kingdom, China and Asia Pacific are participating.
The Chairman for the occasion was the Chief Director of the Ministry of Trade, Mr. Seth Evans Addo.