TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Ghana Targets Textile Exports to U.S.

Monday, 10 March 2003

Source: Ghanaian Chronicle (Accra)

THE MINISTER of Trade and Industry, Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, said last week in an interview that even though the country had access to a $70 million textile and apparel market in the US since the inception of the Visa System under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) in April last year, only $8million worth of textiles and garment products were exported.

Non-traditional exports to the US increased by $8million from $42 million in 2001 to $50million last year and it is targeted to reach at least $62million this year.

In order to export more to the US market through AGOA, the minister said a 15-member National Oversight and Implementation Committee on AGOA had been established to coordinate all national efforts under the initiative with the support of the AGOA secretariat.

The minister also declared that, the Special Presidential Initiative (SPI) is to developed critical mass of high growth-oriented, internationally competitive exporting firms in the garment and textiles sub-sector and cassava starch production targeting US and the European Union markets.

Dr. Apraku said that in order to avoid exporting shoddy products, a textile and garment training centre had been set up at the Accra Technical and Training Centre to train operators in the industry to acquire skills needed to meet the quality standard of the US market.

He added that micro and small-scale textiles and garment producers have been brought together under a cluster network arrangement to work together in order to meet large export orders from the US.

On the establishment of the Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF), to provide the concessionary credit to exporters, "an amount of ¢87.9billion has been disbursed for export activities so far".

And the Trade Ministry had drawn up a free zone programme with incentives to attract overseas investors to relocate in the country to produce goods for export to the US under AGOA, he added.

Dr. Apraku said "Berlin Textiles International, a Ghanaian-Mauritius joint venture project has been incorporated to establish a T-shirt and jeans factory at Adjabeng in Accra to produce for the US market and production would commence this year".

On the vision for his ministry in the context of the golden age of business, the minister said his minstry's strategy seeks to create a diversified, innovative and fully integrated and resilient industrial sector where new ideas and technical innovations would be used continuously for improvement of goods and services.

He said resources would be channeled to the most productive sectors of the economy, especially the agricultural and industrial sectors and by creating a conducive environment for the private sector to thrive and to spearhead the quest for positive change to manifest in people's lives.

He held that the government is doing everything possible to create a congenial macro-economic environment by putting the private sector in the driving seat for development. He said with the macro-economic indicators now stabilizing, incentive packages and legal framework are being reviewed and improved to enhance efficiency of the private sector as well as reduce bottlenecks in the economy.

Promotion and development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as critical building blocks in the execution of the country's industrialization agenda, the minister said, have been given prior attention by enhancing the capacities of institutions which deliver services to the sector to be able to reach them effectively. "Entrepreneurship development schemes and management training programmes have also been instituted to enhance the capacities of existing MSMEs."

The minister noted that the Ghana Trade and Gateway Programme and Trade and Investment Reform Programme, which deal with policy, regulatory and administrative constraints against exporting, have been set up to support the private sector.

To address the problem of capital, Dr. Apraku mentioned the EDIF, Ghana Investment Fund and loan guaranteed schemes as some of the institutions that entrepreneurs can access funds from to start and to expand their business concerns.