EPA: Gov’t Will Protect The Interest Of Ghana – Haruna Iddrisu

The Trades and Industry Minister, Haruna Iddrisu is urging concerned groups and organizations to be assured that government will protect the interest of Ghana regarding the signing on to the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

This follows a petition presented to the President by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) with support from civil society organizations to stop government from signing on to the EPA.

According to the TUC, the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ghana Chamber of Commerce, the Socialist Forum, and the Economic Justice Network of Ghana are stating that the agreement is not in the best interest of the country.

The Foreign Affairs Minister is to attend an ECOWAS Council of Ministers meeting in Ivory Coast on Tuesday to advise ECOWAS heads of state on the signing of the EPA while the technical committee is expected to present a report to the heads of state for the conclusion on the matter.

The EPA allows countries to export goods to the EU without tariffs or maximum quotas, under World Trade Organization rules.

The European Parliament has granted the African countries an extension until October 2014 to ratify their interim EPAs.

In an interview on Eyewitness News on Monday, Haruna Iddrisu disclosed urged the concerned groups to “wait to be guided by what decision the ECOWAS heads of state will take.”

He disclosed that the “technical committee has completed some negotiations with the EU but it’s subject to the endorsement or rejection of the ECOWAS heads of state.”

He indicated he will not be able to preempt the decision which might be taken but “we recognize that the EU are our major trading partners and I’m sure we will reach a mutually beneficial pact with them [EU].”

Mr. Iddrisu assured Ghanaians that government will be guided by the agreement arrived at by the ECOWAS group because “we are not standing alone in these negotiations and we will do what will better protect our national interest.”