Three manufacturing Companies have petitioned the Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC) of the Ministry of Trade and Industry to address issues of unfair trade practices in the system.

They also petitioned the Commission to expedite action and implement the needed measures to protect the local cement and steel production.

The companies are the Cement and Steel Manufacturers Association of Ghana, Aluworks Company Limited, and the Association of Biscuit Manufacturers, all located in Tema.

The Commission was mandated to investigate and adjudicate on complaints by domestic producers relating to dumping, subsidization and import upsurges as stipulated in Section 3 of the Ghana International Trade Commission Act, 2016 (Act 926).

It is also to monitor and advise the government on the country’s compliance with its bilateral and multilateral trade obligations.

Reverend George Dawson-Ahmoah, the Executive Secretary of Cement and Steel Manufacturers Association, presenting the petition in Accra, said the association’s total production capacity of 11.6 million metric tonnes per annum was adequate to serve the local industry, without relying on importation of cement.

Rev Dawson-Ahmoah expressed worry about the importation of cement from China, which had crippled their businesses and urged the Commission to intervene to save the company from collapsing.

Touching on the steel industry, he said the installed capacity of the steel industry was about 1,000,000 metric tonnes per annum as against an annual average of about 350,000 metric tonnes per annum.

Rev Dawson-Ahmoah said based on the production capacity, there was a surplus of 650,000 metric tonnes per annum to serve the local industry.

He said current data on iron rods and steel coils imports indicated that there was a significant increase in the importation of iron rods and steel coils into the country, which had negatively affected the growth and development of the local steel industry.

Mr Kwasi Okoh, the Managing Director of Aluworks Limited said the influx of cheap aluminium materials from China and the introduction of China deep export rebate for traders had affected the growth of the local aluminium industry.

He appealed to the Commission to come to their aid to avoid the collapse of the company.

Mr Adel Shami, Member of the Association of Biscuit Manufacturers said their production capacity was more than 6,500 metric tonnes per month but currently producing around 2,600 metric tonnes per month, which is 40 per cent capacity.

He urged the Commission to address the issue of unrealistic low values for imported biscuit and environmental tax on plastic wrappers.

Mr Alan Kyeremanten, the Minister of Trade and Industry said the country used to operate an open and liberate trade regimes, which resulted in cheap and fake goods coming into the country.

He said the country would do everything possible to ensure compliance to trade policies and practices and protect local industries from unfair trade practices.

Mr Frank Agyekum, the Executive Secretary, GITC, receiving the petition assured the associations of the Commission’s commitment to do due diligence by engaging all stakeholders for discussions and ensure that players trade in line with the Commission’s Act.

He assured the associations of the Commission’s commitment to execute their mandate in a transparent, impartial, fair and firm manner to protect domestic companies from unfair trade practices.