The Head of European Union (EU) Delegation to Ghana, Mr William Hanna, has urged Ghanaian exporters to add value to their products in order to attract lower tariffs on the European market.
“Europe today already buys your high quality products and we want to buy more if you add value to your products here in Ghana, by processing them so that you do not face higher tariffs,” he stated.
Mr Hanna said that in an interview with the media in Accra last Thursday to explain further the Ghana-EU Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
The EPA was ratified by the Parliaments of Ghana, and the European community and its member states in August and December 2016 respectively.
Mr Hanna debunked the notion that when manufacturers processed their produce into higher value, they would encounter tougher tariff barriers on the EU market, describing it as untrue.
He noted that the rules of the EPA had been clearly spelt out and the steering committee would ensure a fair competition and a level playing field for traders.
He said Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire had the same type of agreements with the EU regarding access to its market and, therefore, urged the two countries to make the right decisions on investments so as to derive the needed benefits.
Mr Hanna said since 2008, Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire had benefited from the quota-free order, and added that the export of cocoa products such as chocolate, cocoa butter and cocoa powder to the EU market by the two countries had increased by 4.5 times and 2.5 times respectively in less than eight years.
He said the countries, which the EU had signed the agreements with, had buoyant agricultural sectors and thus, entreated those countries to process their raw materials into finished products to reap the needed benefits and alleviate poverty, instead of exporting them raw.
He said the EPA trade regime was increasing new investments and indicated that due to the agreement, a French company had opened a new chocolate factory in La Cote d’Ivoire.
Mr Hanna urged the private sector to take advantage of the EPA to establish factories to process their raw materials and noted that cashew, for instance, had high demand on the EU market.
He said the EU supports the Government of Ghana’s “Beyond Aid” agenda and disclosed that the EU would sign a financial agreement with Ghana next week to offer the nation over 100 million euros grant in the agricultural sector.— GNA