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31.01.2006 Business & Finance

Ghana and Sweden hold bilateral trade talks

By GNA

Accra, Jan. 31, GNA - Ghana and Sweden on Tuesday began trade talks to enhance bilateral ties and explore potential business areas of cooperation between them in Accra.

The four-day meeting is being attended by a 20-member Swedish trade delegation, members of the Association of Ghana Industries, Private Enterprise Foundation, Ghana Export Promotion Council and Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Mr Alan Kyerematen, Minister of Trade and Industry addressing the opening session, gave an overview of the economic environment and stressed that Ghana now enjoyed a stable economic and political stability coupled with rapid infrastructure development. He said Ghana's ports and road networks were in proper shape and therefore, urged investors to "feel at home to invest more in the economy."

Mr Kyerematen however, expressed regret about the trade imbalance between Ghana and Sweden in exports and called on the participants to address the issue.

He noted that the talks would send a strong signal to other investors on the viability of Ghana' economy.

Mr Lars-Olof Lindgren, Swedish State Secretary for Trade and Head of the Trade Mission commended Ghana for being Sweden's most important trading partner in Africa, and making economic progress over the years. "A prerequisite for growth and investments is a sound economic system. Ghana has come a long way to reform her economy and promote good governance. Ghana must continue to improve her business climate and fight corruption," He added.

Mr Lindgren said Sweden and Ghana, which had "both small and open economies," needed to rely on trade and investments across borders to be successful.

He admitted that trade between the two countries was "still far too low" and that great-untapped potentials involving many business areas of interest existed for them to explore.

Mr Lindgren said the delegation including representatives from the Swedish Chamber of Commerce and Swedish Export Credits Guarantee Board would offer Ghanaian entrepreneurs ideas on how to access credits to enable them expand their business and facilitate exports to Sweden. Mr Sten Engdahl, Charge d'Affairs at the Swedish Embassy said Sweden-Ghana bilateral trade begun about 350 years ago when Swedish Africa Company built the first trading post at Cape Coast in 1653. "Looking at our cooperation today, we find that the bilateral relations between Sweden and Ghana are very good. Over the last few years we have also seen that the collaboration has both broaden and deepened," he said.

Mr Engdahl was optimistic that the visit would enable negotiations of a bilateral investment protection agreement initiated in 2004 to be finalised.

"We also hope that the negotiations of a bilateral double taxations agreement can be concluded at the same time."

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