The European Union (EU) has pledged its support for Ghanaian companies to add value to the country’s raw materials and export them to the European market.
The EU said it was ready to support local businesses to import machinery and technology at lower cost for production of finished goods under the EU-Ghana Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (iEPA), an initiative that regulates trade in goods between Ghana and the EU.
Mr Irchad Razaaly, the EU Ambassador to Ghana, told journalists at a conference on the iEPA in Accra on Monday that, the Union had a large market for processed goods and invites Ghanaian businesses to explore opportunities in Europe.
“Our wish is to help the Ghanaian corporate industry, economy, entrepreneurs to have the tools to go and sell to the European market the best of products,” Mr Razaaly said.
From the EU side, the iEPA has been effective since 2016 and from the Ghana side, the Agreement took effect on July 1, 2021.
The Agreement aims at increasing trade and reducing trade barriers particularly on the tariffs imposed on imports of products originating in the EU and Ghana.
The conference was organised by the Compete Ghana Programme together with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the EU Delegation in Ghana.
The Conference sensitised stakeholders on the iEPA and discussed challenges faced by businesses and individuals in their quest to export their products to the EU and in Ghana.
The EU import market is estimated to be worth over €2 trillion. Recent data from the EU puts Ghana’s export to the EU to the tune of €2 billion.
Mr Razaaly said prior to the commencement of the iEPA, it was “more difficult” for Ghanaian companies to import machinery with preferential tariffs to transform products and make it valuable for the EU market.
He said the EU had also identified lack of awareness as among the challenges businesses face who desired to export to Europe and assured all that the Union would continue to organise such conferences to raise awareness on existing opportunities.
“On the daily basis, I have got Ghanaian businesses and individuals approaching me that they would like to export but they do not know how to begin.
“Rules of origin can be technical and as a businessman you are not necessarily aware of all these and we are here to support and make sure you are able to make it to the European market,” he said.
Mr Nicolas Gebara, Team Leader, Compete Ghana Programme, said following the signing of the iEPA, Ghana’s exports to the EU increased from €1.19bn in 2016 to €2.27bn in 2019.
“Ghana’s non-traditional exports to the EU increased by two-thirds between 2010 and 2020, equivalent to an annual growth rate of 5 per cent,” he said.
Mr Herbert Krapa, a Deputy Minister for Trade and Industry, said the Government would continue to support local businesses to build their capacity to be able to take advantage of the iEPA and other initiatives to access external markets.