NewsWest AfricaEPA for survival: Ghanaian farmers seek EU access


Posted on Saturday, 28 January 2012 03:17

EPA for survival: Ghanaian farmers seek EU access

By Lawrence Quartey

Pineapple and banana exporters in Ghana have attributed their continued survival to the signing of Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with their government four years ago.

"Without the interim EPAs we have no market and the banana and pineapple businesses (export) will die.

"EPAs allow us quota and tariff free access to the EU market", George Kporye, President of African Pineapples and Bananas Association (APIBANA) said on Thursday in Accra.

He told journalists African producers were facing unequal competition with Latin American producers on the EU market.

"It is actually important that Ghana government signs the EPAs. If we don't sign we will be subjected to tariffs and we cannot afford that in the face of stiff competition," he said.

"We cannot shut a significant market like the EU. There are some concerns that people have raised with the EPA, but these issues have been largely addressed.

If we don't sign we will be subjected to tariffs...we cannot afford

"Every economy should look at expanding the market and not shutting it down," Kporye said.

Claude Maerten, head of the EU delegation in Ghana said the West African country must honour its part of the EPAs because since January 2008 the EU granted total access duty free to Ghanaian exporters.

If Ghana fails to sign, the country will have to look at other options available, which Maerten indicated were not better than the current Economic Partnership Agreement.

Under the agreement Ghana can export about 300 million Euros worth of products to Europe.

Currently Ghana is evaluating the impact of the agreement on the economy as well as ensuring that all parties are satisfied before committing itself.

Meanwhile, the EPAs according to civil society are an additional trade regime to further fragment and eventually derail harmonisation of West Africa's regional integration.

They say the EU wants more liberalisation of market access for its goods than the 70 percent ECOWAS is offering.

Ghana's market opening to the EU under the Interim EPA is much higher, at 80.5 per cent.

APIBANA has members in Ghana, Ivory Coast and Cameroon. It aims to enhance their position on the European market in the export of pineapples and bananas.

Last Updated on Saturday, 28 January 2012 04:02

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