The Director of Foreign Trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Mr. Anthony Nyame Baafi has said the implementation of the Common External Tariff will significantly reduce smuggling of goods across national borders.
He said one of the main instruments that the West African regional body ECOWAS can use to foster regional integration is the Common External Tariff (CET) which has been successfully passed in Ghana.
Mr. Nyame Baafi said this at a workshop on “Exporting to the ECOWAS and EU Markets” funded by Trade Related Assistance and Quality Enabling Programme (TRAQUE) in Tamale.
He also lauded the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme (ETLS) designed by the Regional Economic Community to encourage intra-regional trade. He said, “It will promote the West African Region as a Free Trade Area and will help the establishment of a common market through the liberalization of trade.”
Traders and exporters in Ghana seek to open up trade within the sub-region as well with countries in Europe and other parts of the world. The European Union for instance is the world’s largest single market with 503 million people and more than 25% of the world’s GDP.
It is therefore important for Ghanaian businesses to take cognizance of the requirements that are necessary to access these markets and the costs associated with them. In view of this, TRAQUE organized this workshop to bring Ghanaian companies dealing with fruits, vegetables, textiles, handicrafts and other non-traditional export products on accessing the ECOWAS and EU markets.
One other key trade policy discussed at this workshop was the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA). With Ghana signing an interim EPA agreement with the European Union last year, the participants were educated on what this trade agreement means for Ghana and how they can take advantage of its numerous benefits for their businesses.
Alhassan Zong, a participant at the workshop expressed his delight at the education he received. “I am very happy for making time to attend this workshop because I have gained knowledge on what the EPA is about and how it can help me in my business. Formerly I just hear about it on TV and radio without having a deeper understanding of it.”
Similar workshops by the EU funded TRAQUE Programme on educating Ghanaian businesses oh how to export to the EU and ECOWAS countries as well information on the Economic Partnership Agreement has been slated for Kumasi, Koforidua and Cape Coast respectively.