Public Agenda (Accra)
26 November 2007
Posted to the web 26 November 2007
The Trade Union Congress (GTUC) has warned the government against any deception by the European Commission (EC) for an interim agreement concerning the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
According to the TUC, information available to them suggests that the government is seriously considering the EC's proposal for an interim agreement or a so-called 'EPA-light' which means the government would be committed to eliminate all tariffs up to 80 per cent of European imports into Ghana and the West African region for about twelve years.
In a press statement signed by the Secretary- General of the TUC, Kwasi Adu-Amankwah it commended the decision by the government together with its West African counterparts that it cannot rush to conclude an EPA by the end of this year.
According to the statement such a decision was in the best interest of the country since it has been widely acknowledged that a rushed EPA can inflict serious damage on the Ghanaian industry.
The Secretary-General said the EPA-light which has already been presented to a number of regions within the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries would still have dire consequences on the economies and jobs.
"The fact that the liberalization of tariffs on goods, including agriculture, will happen at such a level and rate that would threaten our small farmers and infant industries could spell disaster for our fragile economy."
In addition, the rapid loss of government revenue will paralyze government's ability to invest in education, health and decent jobs all of which are crucial to sustainable development and poverty reduction.
The statement further said the EPA-light being suggested by the EC does not in any way lower the ambition of the EC regarding the kind of trade agreement it wants to conclude.
"The EC still hopes to do a comprehensive deal on all issues such as investment, government procurement, competition and public services as well as intellectual property protection which Ghana and other developing countries have fought for years to keep out of the World Trade Organization (WTO)," it added.