30.03.2009 Feature Article

Don`t conclude Regional EPA in June 2009 –GAPTO

Dont conclude Regional EPA in June 2009 –GAPTO
30.03.2009 LISTEN

Members of the Ghana Agricultural Producers and Traders Organisation (GAPTO) have called on the governments of the Economic Commission of West African States (ECOWAS) not to conclude the Regional Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with European Union (EU) in June, this year. They observed that the region has a lot to loose if ECOWAS governments sign the pact. Members of GAPTO, made the call at a day's seminar on 'the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement, Implementation and Impact on local industries' in Accra. Speaking at the seminar, an official of the Cross-Border Consult, Mr. Emmanuel Doni-Kwame added that the full EPA would lead to loss of revenue to governments, collapse of local industries and increase unemployment in ECOWAS countries. He stressed that the E.U would use the agreement to rule Africa again, saying African countries can not compete favourable with their European counterparts in the area of trade. According to him, a survey conducted by his outfit indicated that the Interim EPA signed by Ghana in 2008 had dire effects on finished products sector of the Ghanaian economy. The Greater Accra Regional Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Nana Appiah Agyei urged the private sector to monitor the implementation of the interim EPA and sound the alarm bell on issues that are counter productive to the sector. He called for increase government transparency on the interim EPA implementation, adding that 'This would give the private sector the opportunity to know more about both the good and bad sides of the pact on Ghanaian economy'. The paper however, gathered that in December 13, 2007, the European Commission initialed a stepping stone economic agreement with Ghana. The agreement enabled Ghana to benefit from improved market access to the E.U since 1 January 2008. This agreement contains a title on Development Cooperation covering priority areas of development for accompanying the implementation of the pact.