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By Alexander Nyarko Yeboah
The Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC) says it will shield Ghanaian industries from bad trade practices that may come about as a result of the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) project.
“We are poised to ensure that, as Ghana enters into the African market, our industries and manufacturers would be protected from unfair practices,” says Mr. Bernard Afreh, Senior Research and Planning Officer of the GITC.
Mr. Afreh said this during the launch of the fourth Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference (GITFiC), AfCFTA edition, at the Naa Deide Omadro Conference Hall, Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AMA)
Mr. Afreh, who was speaking on behalf of the Executive Secretary of GITC, Mr. Frank Agyekum, said, “The opportunities available are great but the fundamental questions still arises; there is obviously going to be influx of cheap products into the country.”
He said his outfit was aware of the possibilities of dumping and subsidized goods which would be coming into Ghana, “And that is why the GITC comes to play,” explaining ‘Dumping’ to be a situation in which a product introduced into a country sells at less than its value by the exporting country.
In that regard, Mr. Afreh said the creation of GITC by Act 926 of the Ghana Parliament, ensured that domestic manufacturers and industries were not unfairly treated in the continental market, and to do this, GITC had to receive petitions from domestic industries who might be injured by dumping or subsidization in the course of trading.
He told of how Ghanaian exporters would be protected by saying, “We will be conducting studies on the competitiveness of Ghana’s tariff structure and how it affects the market’s access to opportunities and challenges for exporters who may be exploiting the market.
“The GITC is catering for importers, is catering for exporters, as well as the domestic producers. We believe that the AfCFTA presents Ghana with opportunities to gain access to new markets and expand our trading frontiers,” Mr. Afreh indicated.
He therefore informed that the onus lied with stakeholders like GITC and others in the public and private sectors to disseminate information and properly apprise Ghanaians on the benefits and advantages of AfCFTA, “And it is in this vein that the GITC shares with the ideals of GITFIC in gathering experts to share ideas in ensuring that Ghana emerges as a winner in this multilateral agreement,” Mr. Afreh said.
Mr. Afreh therefore expressed joy for the GITFiC conference by saying it would gather experts, negotiators, captains of industry, policy practitioners, etc. to focus on harnessing the benefits of AfCFTA towards the development of Ghana.
In his optimism of the success of the AfCFTA project, he said Africa was a broad market and experts had estimated that Africans were about 1.3 billion and that economic integration was expected to boost intra-African trade from the current about 15% to about 65%.