April 15, 2014

Government says it cannot be coerced by civil society groups not to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

This follows enormous opposition from labour, civil society and the Christian Council against any attempt by Ghana and the ECOWAS to sign onto the EPA with the European Union.

Ghana and the EU in 2007 initiated an Interim EPA to conform to the World Trade Organization requirements for preferential trade deals between WTO members.

According to the minister of trade and industry Haruna Iddrissu ,”the country’s position is for a regional ECOWAS economic partnership agreement concluded with the EU within the context of 75% liberalized market access over a 20 year period with a 5 year moratorium “.

He said a consultative meeting with various stakeholders on the EPA will be organized on Thursday to iron out some outstanding issues.

“We will be engaging the Ghanaian public on Thursday, at a major public forum to solicit views of the public but we will not be swayed by the threat of civil society that don’t sign, if you sign some people have gone to the extent that then something must happen to the government, that clearly, clearly we will not tolerate or accommodate”, Haruna Iddrissu added.

According to him the major conditions in the regional ECOWAS EPA if signed is better than the interim EPA Ghana initialed in 2007.

Haruna Iddrissu explained that “We are all for ECOWAS concluding negotiations with the EU on a regional economic partnership agreement which will govern the relationship between the regional grouping ECOWAS and the EU…

We are working towards concluding negotiations on 75% market access face over a 20 year period so for me even at least the regional ECOWAS EPA looks better in content and in detail than the interim EPA we initialed in 2007. Were we gave 80% market access for 15 years”.