TWN courts gov’t against signing EPA

Civil society group, Third World Network (TWN) is making a strong case against government signing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

Government is yet to announce a decision on whether it will sign the agreement and there has been intense lobbying going on from anti- EPA groups.

TWN  on Monday, sought audience with President Mahama to convince government not to sign the free trade agreement under the EPA with the European Union (EU).

The EPA is a trade agreement between the EU and African countries aimed at providing equal trade access between countries in the two continents.

It has been almost a decade since the EU mooted the EPA agreement to African countries with no firm decision.

Speaking to Joy News Monday, Sylvester Bagoro, who is with the TWN advised against opening the Ghanaian market to the Europeans as there is the tendency for the country to lose its market.

According to him, the sectors that Ghana has comparative advantage in over the EU must not be allowed to be invaded by the European market.

After a news conference in Accra, Coordinator for the TWN, Dr. Yao Graham told Joy News they are expecting the government to consider the strong implication signing the agreement will have on the economy.

According to him, TWN had the expected audience from the president and his team, with sufficient interaction on the consequences of Ghana accepting the agreement.

Additionally, the Coordinator noted that whatever policy decision government makes on the agreement, it must be able to defend it.

But trade specialist, Dr. Douglas Zormelo, has rejected claims that government has taken too long to sign the EPA, insisting, government has to do comprehensive consultations before taking the desired decision.

He further pointed out that the EU wants Ghana to sign the EPA so that Ghana exports some products to European countries free of duty without the European countries doing same into Ghana.

However, Dr. Zormelo noted that developing countries are concerned that if they go into a reciprocal trade with the EU, their industries would be stunted and not grow as products from the EU would be patronized.

Reacting to the issue, the minister of trade, Haruna Idrissu noted that if Ghana is not able to sign on to the agreement, it will affect its market.

He rather called for empowerment of the Ghanaian manufacturing  sector and for the country to diversify its export.

Haruna Iddrisu asked for calm heads to prevail as government deliberates on the issue.