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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Over liberalization of trade, killing local industries - Participants

Wa, Jan. 25, GNA - Participants at a two-day sensitisation and information workshop, on international trade issues, have observed that, the over liberalization of the trading system in Ghana was hampering the growth of indigenous Ghanaian industries.
The participants noted that foreigners had invaded the Ghanaian market with cheap and low quality products that could not be compared with Ghanaian products.
They made the observation at a workshop, organised by the Ministry of Trade and Industry, on Monday, at Wa, in the Upper West Region.
The participants called on the government to strengthen its trade policies, to save local industries from the threat they faced from imported goods, some of which are of low quality.
Mr Cezar Kale, Deputy Upper West Regional Minister, who opened the workshop, said it sought to refocus the minds of participants on international trade issues, and particularly make them realise that the international scene was partly influenced by what pertained internally, with regards to trade and industry.
Mr Kale commended the Ministry of Trade and Industry for organising the workshop and hoped that it would shed light on the processes, challenges, implications and more importantly, the opportunities that could be utilised, especially, by the private sector for the benefit of the wider society.
He said Ghana had been a member of the World Trade Organisation since its inception on January 1, 1995 and had since remained active in its activities, spanning policy issues, negotiations, dispute resolution, to that of liberalizing trade.
He urged the participants to be abreast with current developments at the international market, especially, with the Doha Development Agenda, the Regional Integration of ECOWAS States, as well as the Economic Partnership Agreement between West Africa and the European Union.
Mr Kale also appealed to the Ministry of Trades and Industry to liaise with the Foreign Affairs Ministry to initiate the process that would bring to life, the idea of a Joint Border Check points to facilitate smooth trade within the sub-region.
Mr Rowland Aggor, an Independent Trade Expert and one of the resource persons at the workshop, took the participants through the ECOWAS Trade Liberalization Scheme (ETLS), its implementation challenges, as well as other ECOWAS Protocols.
He said the ETLS was established in 1990 to remove all tariff and non-tariff barriers between member states, over a 10-year period.
The objective, he mentioned, was to eliminate distortions and discriminatory procedures and enhance free movement of goods from one country to another, without having to go through any difficulty.
Some of the challenges he said, were non compliance from member states to grant zero duty rate to approved products, lack of adequate transport infrastructure, lack of universal or mutual recognition of certification and standards, as well as administrative barriers at borders and unnecessary check points on highways.
Mr Aggor called for the institutionalization of a mechanism to forestall the unilateral imposition of ban on imports by any member country, establishment of ECOWAS Food and Drugs Authority to certify food and beverages.
Additionally, he suggested the establishment of an ECOWAS Desk and Complaints Units in all the borders, the removal of non-tariff barriers and the learning of official languages, such as English and French, by citizens of member states.

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