Accra, March 31, GNA- Mr Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade, Industry and President's Special Initiatives (PSI) on Wednesday stressed the need for greater South-South co-operation through increased trading. "It is only through such collaboration that developing countries can be integrated into the global market", he said. Mr Kyerematen was addressing the First Joint Trade forum between Ghana and Iran in Accra.
An 82-member Iran delegation on a three West African nation tour was in Ghana to deepen relations between them and also discuss possible areas of co-operation and partnership for investment.
Discussions would be centered in energy, industry, Agriculture, Information technology, Banking and construction.
Ghana and Iran would also put in place the necessary framework to enhance business and trade in the form of a "Bilateral Trade Agreement". Mr Kyerematen said there had been fluctuations in trade between the two countries and the current volume of trade and the range of products were far below the potential for bilateral trade between them. Giving statistics, Mr Kyerematen said Ghana's exports to Iran in 1996 was 2.2 million dollars and this declined to 0.20 million dollars in 1997, it increased to 2.0 million dollars in 1999 before falling to 0.22 million dollars in 2002.
Ghana's imports from Iran however, increased progressively from 0.22 million dollars in 1996 to 0.90 million dollars in 1998 and there was a record jump to 12.14 million dollars in 2001. The Trade Minister appealed to the delegation to join Ghana's Private Sector to explore the numerous opportunities for businesses.
Mr Kwesi Abeasi, Chief Executive of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), said as further demonstration of Government's commitment to provide protection for investors, Ghana had concluded some bilateral and multilateral investment treaties.
This he said, provided guarantees and comfort to investors, making it possible for an investor country to obtain justice in the event of a dispute between the two countries.
Mr Abeasi said under Multilateral treaties, Ghana had signed the Investment Incentive Agreement With Overseas Private Investment cooperation (OPIC) of USA, a signatory to the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA).
Others are the United Nations Convention of the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards.
Mr Abeasi said the OPIC scheme covers insurance on commercial basis and may in deserving circumstances, pay a claim to the investor and pursue subrogation right with the host country in accordance with the Investment Incentive Agreement.
Mr Kwamena Bartels, Minister of Private Sector Development, said Ghana had the advantage of proximity to strategic markets in Europe and the United States of America and also considered as the gateway to a sub-regional market of about 280 million people. He pledged the Ministry's support to ensure a safe investment and profitable trading devoid of unnecessary taxation to ensure maximum profit.
Dr Kamal Kharrazi, Iranian Foreign Minster and Head of the delegation, said Iran had been successful in both small and large industrial set-ups, adding that it produced one million cars and buses per year, which were exported to various parts of the world. He said Ghana was included in Iran's investment drive because of its poverty alleviation programme and hoped that their efforts to invest in sectors of the economy would create wealth and job opportunities for the people.