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15.02.2005 Business & Finance

TUC cautions on trade policy

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Accra, Feb. 15, GNA - Mr Kwesi Adu-Amankwah, Trades Union Congress (TUC) Secretary-General, on Tuesday said the new trade policy would not serve the nation's interest so long as there is a push for unbridled trade liberalization.

He said having noted the World Trade Organisation (WTO) proposals and the Government's policy to retain flexibility in tariff arrangements; the TUC believes negotiations so far reached were not in the national interest.

"...We observe that the negotiations so far are not in line with the developmental interests of this country as long as the EU continues to push for unbridled liberalisation of trade between very unequal partners and in the context of trade distorting policies like subsidies to their farmers," Mr Adu-Amankwah said.

In his solidarity message at the launch the Government's Trade Policy, he questioned why the rights of Ghanaian workers were missing from the policy.

"Neither GATT nor WTO includes any protection for labour rights and this policy document seems to follow that trend," the TUC Secretary General said.

Vice President Aliu Mahama launched the 39-Page Policy Document, prepared through extensive consultation of stakeholders to set out a framework to propel the country into achieving a middle-income status by 2012.

Mr Adu-Amankwah noted that the idea of including the protection of workers' rights dated back to 1948 when labour rights commitments were contained in the Havana Charter that was designed to launch the International Trade Organisation.

He said as workers and citizens of the country they would continue to campaign with other partners for economic policies and development that would offer optimal social protection for labour.

The Union Leader, however, commended Government for coming out with the Document, which, he said, had laudable policy prescriptions in respect of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

He said the consultative process that preceded its formulation should be deepened in future to produce an even better outcome.

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