Ghana’s absurd ratification of the interim EPA

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SOL | 31 December 2016

Ghana’s absurd ratification of the interim EPA

by Jacques Berthelot (jacques.berthelot4@wanadoo.fr)

Outline

I – The GSP duties to pay on Ghana’s exports to the EU are hugely exaggerated
II – The huge losses of duties on imports from the EU28-UK and on exports to ECOWAS Member States
III – The other constraints linked to the ratification of Ghana’s interim EPA
IV – Conclusion: two favorable alternatives to the EPA that the EU refuses

On 15 December 2016 the "stepping stone" or interim EPA (iEPA) of Ghana has entered into provisional application after that the European Parliament gave its consent to its ratification on 1st December. Already on 13 October 2016 the INTA committee of the European Parliament approved the ratification of Ghana’s iEPA initialled in 2007 and ratified on 3 August 2016 by the Ghanean Parliament. In so doing the Ghanean Parliament did not realize that it was shooting itself in the foot, following the Government which preferred to give in to the powerful pressures of international agribusinesses rather than to hear the warnings of the whole range of Ghanean civil society, from the Association of Ghanaian Industry to the Christian Council, the Trade Union movement, CSOs (civil society organizations) and farmers organisations. We should underscore that the ratified iEPA is different from the West Africa (WA) regional EPA, particularly on the schedule of tariff liberalization which is not written in terms of years T to T20 but in actual civil years so that it would be much more harmful to Ghana than the regional EPA as it would have begun immediately in 2009 to be completed in 2022. However it is likely that, despite the infringement of the legal iEPA provisions, an arrangement would be found between Ghana and the EU so that not only the liberalization schedule but also the provisions of the iEPA would be aligned on those of the regional EPA. The present assessment assumes this would happen.

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