Ghana: MoTI to develop 'AGOA review strategy'
The Ministry of Trade and Industry (MoTI) is in the process of developing a strategic document to enable local companies realise the full potential in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade initiative.
Presently, a draft is being developed with input from local companies in export trade across the country to develop a four-step strategic document, ‘AGOA Review Strategy’ to promote export for Ghanaian companies.
In an interview with the GRAPHIC BUSINESS, on the sidelines of AGOA sensitisation workshop in Accra, the Director in charge of Multilateral, Regional and Bilateral Trade, Mr Anthony Nyame-Baafi, said plans were far advanced for the preparation of the strategy to address challenges facing indigenous companies that accessed the programme.
“Ghanaian exporters had not taken opportunity of the AGOA initiative for which reason on the strategies to sensitise them to short, medium and long term is being developed,” he said.
The objective of the strategy is four-fold.
First, big firms that are already in the export trade to the international market will be equipped to increase their export.
Second, investors will be brought to invest in area’s Ghana has competitive advantage so that the country could be able to produce more and export for foreign exchange.
Third, MoTI will also build the capacity of Ghanaian companies that are already exporting to the European Union (EU) market in order for them to double their export.
Lastly, it will also help address challenges facing local companies exporting to the EU market in terms of concessional funding and power fluctuation.
The AGOA accords duty-free treatment to virtually all products exported by beneficiary sub-Saharan (SSA) countries to the United States.
It provides beneficiary countries with the most liberal access to the United States market accorded to any country or region that has not negotiated a free trade agreement with the United States.
It benefits are currently extended to 37 SSA countries and to more than 1,800 tariff line items, in addition to the 4,600 items already enjoying duty-free status on the U.S. Generalised System of Preferences programme.
AGOA has added items to the list of duty-free products, including major import-sensitive items such as apparel, footwear. luggage, handbags, and watches.
The programme also promotes export diversification in AGOA countries through its provision of duty-free and quota-free benefits to virtually all products. AGOA encourages expanded regional integration and production sharing among beneficiary countries and provides job creation and economic growth within those countries.
Meanwhile, the sensitisation workshop, which was organised by the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) is aimed at export-ready companies in utilising the benefits under the AGOA trade initiative.
In his welcome address, the President of the GNCC, Nana Appiagyei Dankawoso II, said early last year, the Chamber entered into a letter of collaboration with the USAID West Africa Trade and Investment Hub and African Partners Network Projects.
The aim of the collaboration was to establish a framework for cooperation in the implementation of AGOA Trade Resource Centre (ATRC) in the country to engage the private sector for regional and global trade assistance.
“Ghanaian exporters, particularly small and medium enterprises, have not utilised fully the benefits accruing to them under the programme although there is a huge market potential for Ghanaian exporters in the United States,” he said.
He said there would be series of technical workshops that would be organised between August and December 2016 and 2017 to help address a number of issues, including but not limited to phytosanitary standards, facing export-ready companies to build their capacities and to fully utilise the benefits under AGOA.
“The GNCC will continue to collaborate with the Trade Hub as well as the relevant stakeholders in ensuring that the desired benefits under AGOA are realised within the 10 year extension period,” he added.