TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Bilateral trade between US and Ghana grew by 48 per cent in 2010

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Source: Ghana News Agency

Bilateral trade between the United States (US) and Ghana grew by 48 per cent in 2010, reaching nearly $1.3 billion.

This consisted of diverse exports, such as cocoa, vegetables, machinery, and vehicles.

Mr Demetrios J. Marantis, Deputy United States Trade Representative (DUSTR), who announced this, said US investment in Ghana was valued at nearly $1 billion and likely to increase, as new economic opportunities materialise and bilateral links multiply, including the recently inaugurated direct flight link between Accra and Washington D.C.

He was speaking at an interactive session with the Government, private sector and civil society on the theme "Promoting US-Ghana Trade and Investment" in Accra, on Tuesday.

Mr Marantis, on a three-day visit to Ghana, said several US businessmen were travelling to Ghana on trade mission, seeking new opportunities in the infrastructure sector.

"I had the opportunity to meet many of them, and was impressed by their excitement and enthusiasm about Ghana, "he added.

According to Mr Marantis, Ghana had also capitalised on trade preference programmes and other assistance partnerships with the United States.

Ninety-two per cent of Ghana's exports to the US enter duty-free, under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) and African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade preference programmes.

Ghana has profited from these opportunities, exporting a growing range of products, including over $800,000 in textiles during 2010, more than double the amount in 2009.

In 2010, Ghanaian workers and farmers exported nearly $48 million dollars in goods to the US under AGOA, more than double the amount during the same period of 2009, and in addition to apparel, Ghana's future prosperity is a testament to what can be achieved when both countries work together.

Mr Marantis said one of the most exciting partnerships with Ghana was the US Agency for International Development (USAID) funded West Africa Trade Hub in Accra.

He explained that the Trade Hub strengthened not only US-Ghanaian trade ties, but provided economic development and job creation opportunities in 21 West African countries.

The Trade Hub offers technical assistance and training to producer groups and export-ready firms in apparel, cashews, handmade home décor, shea, foods, and sustainable fish and seafood.

In addition, it helps to make companies in these sectors more competitive by tackling cross-cutting problems in finance, transport governance and costs, business environment, and telecommunications.

In 2009, the West Africa Trade Hub facilitated over $20 million in exports, drew investment of more than $1 million, and created nearly 800 new jobs, including over 300 jobs for women.

In 2009 alone, the Hub trained nearly 2,300 entrepreneurs and provided technical assistance directly to almost 700 firms. It benefits real people, like Mr and Mrs Forson, owners of hand-crafted furniture and home accessories maker and exporter Tekura Enterprise.

Tekura's beautiful goods draw inspiration from traditional Ghanaian origins and can be found in stores throughout the US and around the world.

On politics, Mr Marantis said Ghana had a long and well-deserved reputation for leadership and achievement.

"As Ghana built her democratic and economic institutions in subsequent decades, Ghana demonstrated that democracy and economic prosperity are reinforcing, setting a strong example for developing nations in Africa and around the world, "he added.

Mr Marantis announced that it was for the same reasons Ghana was selected this year as one of four countries in President Barack Obama's new Partnerships for Growth (PFG) initiative.

The PFG is a signature effort of the President Obama Administration to promote broad-based economic growth through trade and investment, and would help to find more effective ways to work with Ghana and build on the already strong relationship.

It is a key component of President Obama's Policy Directive on Global Development - which is a "first" for the United States. Signed by President Obama in September 2010, for the first time calls on the US Government to make sustainable, broad-based economic growth a primary objective of US development efforts, and recognises that development must be led and driven by the leadership and citizens of developing countries.

The directive also commits the US Government to be more comprehensive, creative, and cooperative in its development work - to reach beyond aid to the instruments it can bring to bear in trade, private investment, and technical assistance to unlock the growth potential of partner countries.

Mr Marantis said the US citizenry was excited about the PFG, and hope that could build on existing tools and successes.

He pointed out that from DUSTR's perspective, a key success that could help support and implement the PFG was the US-Ghana Trade and Investment Framework Agreement, or TIFA.

The TIFA is the foremost bilateral economic dialogue and brings together the US Government's top trade and economic agencies. The TIFA focuses on trade and investment policies that help both economies grow, diversify, and create well-paying jobs.

It is designed to help build on Ghana's successes and leadership to achieve new "firsts" in her economic development.

Mr Marantis said work in the PFG and TIFA was to build on the bedrock of existing achievement, Ghana had one of the best-performing economies in Africa, with better policies, institutions, infrastructure, and services that helped to grow Ghana's economy around five per cent each year for the past decade.

"You have emerged from the global recession cushioned from its worst effects and Ghana is on course for continued growth. With relatively low tariffs and simple tariff structure, Ghana boasts of one of the most open trade regimes in sub-Saharan Africa.

"Foreign investors are bringing new resources to your economy. And as Ghana invests in good policies, you have not stopped investing in your people. All Ghanaians can be proud that after nearly two decades of declining poverty, Ghana is on track to reach the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty by 2015."

Mr Marantis noted that the goal of TIFA was to work with Ghanaians in the Government, private sector, and civil society to identify specific barriers to trade and investment and to discuss ways both countries could partner to address these barriers and further increase their trade and investment.

"My goal for the PFG and the TIFA is to create new areas of opportunity where Ghanaians can yet again say, "Ghana was first," "Ghana was a leader," and "Ghana achieved the improbable."

Mr Marantis said US and Ghana could collaborate to propel Ghana to new horizons and domestically, could work together to improve Ghana's business environment.

"Lack of regulatory transparency breeds uncertainty for entrepreneurs, and poor road quality impedes the timely delivery of goods, especially in the rainy season. Congestion at Ghana's seaports, airports, and customs transit points impedes Ghana's trade and the prosperity it generates. Deficient cold storage facilities and other commercial infrastructure hampers Ghanaians' entry into higher value-added exports, "he said.

"Ghana's rich soils course with potential for cash crops like plantains, cassava, mangoes and papaya. American and European store shelves are waiting for processed Ghanaian agricultural products like cassava starch, tapioca, and frozen vegetables. Ghana has yet to reach her full export potential in hand-woven indigenous textiles, woven fabrics like Kente cloth, and high-end designer war."

Mr Marantis said Ghana's economy was also ripe for further investment, and concluding a high-standard Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) with the US would demonstrate Ghana's commitment to an open trade and investment policy and set an example for others in the West African sub-region.

He said Ghana had already taken positive steps in economic reform, good governance, transparency, and accountability and a high-standard BIT would reinforce these efforts, helping improve Ghana's investment climate, investment protections, and ultimately her future prosperity.

Regionally, Mr Marantis said Ghana could continue to lead sub-Saharan Africa's regional economic integration in ECOWAS and beyond.

However, he said too many barriers to Ghana's export and investment were with her neighbours north, west, and east.

These barriers act as a deterrent not just to greater regional trade, but to traders and investors around the world and Ghana could do more to integrate regionally, to lead the efforts to fully implement ECOWAS common external tariff to boost intra-regional trade.

Mr Marantis observed that globally, the world was watching Ghana's management of her newly-discovered oil wealth and whether it would propel the nation to middle-income status, or set it back by repeating the familiar mistake of the "oil curse".

"The world is watching to see if your mineral wealth will prove to be a burden or a boon that will help Ghana move more quickly along a path of sustainable development, "he added.

Mr Marantis said the best thing that could happen to both countries was for the next generation of Ghanaians and Americans to grow up, caring as much about this relationship as pertaining now because in America, there were many energetic and ambitious young people who care about Ghana and Africa.

The US Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Donald Teitelbaum participated in the session.



“ Latest AGOA Trade Data currently available on AGOA.info


Click here to view a sector profile of Ghana's bilateral trade with the United States, disaggregated by total exports and imports, AGOA exports and GSP exports.


Other regularly updated trade statistics on AGOA.info include: (click each link to view)

  • AGOA-Beneficiary Countries’ AGOA and GSP Trade Aggregates

  • AGOA Trade by Industry Sector

  • Apparel Trade under AGOA’s Wearing Apparel Provisions

  • Latest Apparel Quotas under AGOA

  • Bilateral Trade Data for all AGOA-eligible countries individually.