National Stakeholders' Consultation on EPAs
National Stakeholders' Consultation on EPAs, Accra, 13 March 2013 –
Recommendations from Trade Unions, CSOs & Private Sector
A national stakeholders consultation was convened in Accra on 13th March, 2013 to review the status of the EPAs with the view to making inputs towards the ECOWAS EPA Ministerial meeting which takes place in Cape Verde from the 18-
The consultation discussed the following concerns and adopted joint recommendations from Ghanaian private sector and CSOs to be conveyed to Ghana's lead negotiators and through them to the Minister of Trade and Industry as part of their brief for the forthcoming Cape Verde ministerial.
1. Ghana IEPA: Ghana's bilateral IEPA is due to be replaced by the completion of an ECOWAS EPA. Stakeholders expressed deep concern that the continuing validation of the Ghana IEPA will lock in the comparatively onerous commitments that Ghana bilaterally initialed as an emergency measure to meet the December 31, 2007. This will have negative long-
Furthermore, stakeholders expressed the concern that the Ghana IEPA exerted negative pressure on the ECOWAS positions and might weaken the regional position on the EPA because of an understandable, yet mistaken, desire to accommodate Ghana (and Cote d'Ivoire, the other ECOWAS non-
Stakeholders therefore recommended that:
i) Ghana should not go ahead to finalise and sign its current IEPA.
ii) Ghana should double efforts to improve the ECOWAS EPA so as to effectively roll-
2. Positions for the Cape Verde EPA Ministerial Meeting: Top of the agenda items for the forthcoming ECOWAS Ministers' Meeting on EPAs include an experts and the ECOWAS Commission proposal to expand the scope of ECOWAS' mandated 70% duty-
The meeting also had a briefing on developments in the finalisation of an ECOWAS Common External Tariff (CET), due for ratification in June 2013 despite further outstanding work and unresolved political and technical problems, including lack of agreement on increasing the ECOWAS levy as a means of generating source funding for compensation of member-
Stakeholders recommended that:
i)Ghana must uphold the 70% offer on market access and reject the proposal to expand this. This is because any further liberalization beyond 70% will be extremely damaging for both Ghana and ECOWAS.
ii)Ghana must reject the proposed five-
iii) The meaning and implementation of 'flexibility' should be interpreted as a flexibility demanded of the European Union and to be attained by means of the highest level political dialogue as recommended by ECOWAS Heads of States and promised by the European Commission President at the last AU-
Therefore, Ghana must propose a return to the original and true meaning and purpose of ECOWAS Heads of State call for flexibility as a demand for summit-
iv) Ghana must support the proposal to extend finalisation of the CET by one year, with implementation to start in 2015.
v) Ghana must provide leadership and push for the operationalisation of the Regional Solidarity Fund agreed by ECOWAS Trade Ministers in November 2011 as a mechanism of collective regional responses to EPA-
vi) These recommendations be adopted as part of the brief and mandate of the Ministry of Trade & Industry for the forthcoming ECOWAS EPA Ministerial Meeting in Cape Verde in March 2013.
3. Framework for Participatory Trade Policy Dialogue in Ghana: Stakeholders noted the regrettable lack of consistency and inclusion of Non-
i) Call on Minister of Trade & Industry & the Ministry to prioritise the rebuilding of a sustainable and institutionalised mechanism for systematic, meaningful, participatory and on-
ii) Partner and collaborate in instituting a capacity-
iii) Input into existing channels such as the newly-
iv) Call on the Ministry to organise a National Trade Policy conference in the shortest possible time, which will address and review domestic & international trade issues, strategy and policy
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