Experts divided over EPA

Tuesday 8th April , 2014 1:29 pm

Franklin Cudjoe, IMANI Ghana, Kathy Addy and Gyekye Tano, Third World Network.

Franklin Cudjoe, IMANI Ghana, Kathy Addy and Gyekye Tano, Third World Network.

The controversy raging with Ghana signing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) continues as individuals, experts and civil society groups share different views on the matter.

The EPA is a trade and development agreement negotiated between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries engaged in a regional economic integration process.

It aims, among other things, at helping countries in regional and sub-­regional blocs to integrate into the world economy and share in the opportunities offered by globalization.

On the Citi Breakfast Show on Tuesday, Gyekye Tanoh of Third World Network said the EPA as it is right now will defeat every single aspiration of the agreement.

According to him, the meaning and conditions of trade have changed and “iIf you look at the EPA, it’s not simply about trade. The meaning and implications of trade is changing. If you look at the EPA, it is not about the conditions under which goods and services will cross the boarders.”

He also stated that the EPA is not about trade liberalization but a permanent treaty that will lock our quest for industrialization.

”…what counts is the fact that all of us recognize that there is a serious structural problem with our [Ghana] trade and the structural problem comes in the form of an imbalance between import and export, squeezing out jobs, incomes, savings and therefore investment domestically… any way in which you assess the EPA, it has to relate primarily to these questions,” he strongly noted.

Mr Tanoh revealed that Ghana’s share of the lost of trade revenue to West Africa is 374 million annually and “with or without the EPA, Africa will still have access to the EU market; it is not simply about the amount of money you will lose…”

“With or without the EPA we will all have access to Europe; they is no danger or threat with access to Europe,” he added.

Franklin Cudjoe of IMANI Ghana on his part asserted that Ghana and Africa have failed to establish strong and effective trade ties within the sub-region therefore, ”African leaders are being forced by EU to sign the EPA because we’re not integrating the trade agenda.”

He was of the opinion that Africa has not done enough to integrate and “as far as I recall, it’s only Gaddafi [Former Libya President] who wanted to fast track this integration…”

Mr. Cudjoe stated that Ghana has no option than to sign the agreement. ”I think given the circumstances Ghana will sign it and we should sign it…”

By: Evans Effah/