Ghana Business & Finance | Tuesday, July 31, 2007
‘EPA Is Terrorism Act.’
THE ABIBIMMAN FOUNDATION, a non-governmental organisation, has registered its displeasure over the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) which is scheduled to be signed on December 31, 2007.
“With the inclusion of the Singapore issue (competition policy, investment, trade facilitation, Government procurement) in the EPA, the agreement is a terrorist act because developing countries have successfully taken it out of WTO negotiations,” Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, Kwabena Okai Ofosuhene told journalists at Tema.
He explained that the EPA, when signed, would force local industries to close down since they would not be able to withstand the competition from the European Union (EU).
The situation, according to him, would lead to unemployment in the country because most employees in the local industries would be laid-off.
He added that the EU was doing almost everything possible, both legally and illegally to get the EPA signed.
Mr. Ofosuhene said, “It is very unfortunate and sad that there are key elements within the ECOWAS Commission who are working secretly to enable the EU achieve this.”
He observed that since the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) nations lacked an effective decision-making and operational structure, it made it difficult for them to deal with the pace at which EU was pushing the negotiations, thereby placing great strain on the regional groupings in their efforts to harmonise rapidly in preparation for EPAs.
“If ACP groupings are not sufficiently integrated amongst themselves, the conclusion of an EPA could potentially undermine regional harmonization,” he stated.
He expressed fear that with the signing of the agreement, Government’s ability to regulate its own market for development reasons would be frozen.
The CEO added that the key provision of investment agreements was the principle of ‘non-discrimination.’
“These discriminatory instruments include limits on ownership, performance requirements on exports or local employment, insistence on joint ventures with local firms, among others,” he noted.
He however stated that the removal of the flexibility to use discriminatory rules to govern investment would deny ACP Governments the use of certain policy instruments to promote domestic businesses.
Mr. Ofosuhene therefore appealed to all West African States to be very vigilant and approach the negotiation with the interest of their citizenry at heart.
“We have given them the mandate of leadership and we believe they will soon come to the citizenry for a renewal of that mandate.”