Ghanaian exporters urged to utilize AGOA before end in 2015
Ghanaian exporters were on Tuesday encouraged to intensify penetration into the United States market through the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) before it ends in 2015.
The last five-year phase of the programme offered Ghanaians producers an important opportunity to consolidate their preferential access into the United States markets, Mr. Maxwell Osei Kusi, Deputy Director in-charge of Research at Ghana Export Promotion Council (GEPC), stated in Accra.
Mr. Osei Kusi was speaking at the 2010 AGOA Policy Dialogue organised by African Centre for Development Law and Policy in collaboration with Ministry of Trade and Industry and the West Africa Trade Hub.
He noted that the urgent need for stakeholders including policy makers, law enforcers, custom officials, producers and exporters to dialogue with their US counterparts to iron out any hiccups identified over the period and ensure that all parties benefited to the fullest.
Mr. Osei Kusi said Ghanaian exporters continued to experience some form of challenges in exportation of agricultural products, some of these products had to undergo fumigation to satisfy US requirement.
He noted: “in recent past, some yams exported to US were fumigated at a very high temperature…the yam ended up being cooked”.
The Federation of Association of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE) recommended to government plans which Ghana could take advantage of in the last phase of the AGOA programme.
The plans include establishment of links with the American private sector, through the American Chamber of Commerce, and the African-American round table to promote partnerships to address managerial, technical and financial weaknesses.
Other recommendations are engagement of Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to conduct research in areas required by the producers and manufactures of the selected export products under AGOA.
The FAGE recommendations also urged government to contract agents in USA to warehouse and distribute exports from Ghana to facilitate branding and guarantee payment for goods supplies.
Professor Yaw Agyemang Bedu, RECTOR of Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), said the institute had initiated programmes and policy dialogues aimed at building the capacity of operatives in the business community.
He said most Ghanaian producers and exporters lacked the capacity skills and capacity to enter into the big global market, “GIMPA is ready to assist and prepare the exporters to take advantage of the market especially the AGOA market”.
The policy dialogue was attended by officials from trade ministry, custom officials, exporters, representative from the US Embassy, Members of Parliamentary Select Committee on Trade and Tourism, West Africa Trade Hub secretariat and cross section of the public.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in May 2000, to expand US trade and investment with Sub-Saharan Africa and allow all marketable goods produced in AGOA-eligible countries to enter the US market duty-free.
It also seeks to stimulate economic growth, promote a high-level dialogue on trade and investment-related issues, encourage economic integration, and to facilitate sub-Saharan Africa’s integration into the global economy.
As of January 2010, 38 sub-Saharan African countries including Ghana were eligible for AGOA benefits determine annually by US based on progress in meeting certain criteria, including progress toward the establishment of a market-based economy.
The other criteria are adherence to the rule of law, economic policies to reduce poverty, protection of internationally recognised worker rights, and efforts to combat corruption.
The US Government provides assistance most notably through four regional trade hubs to African Governments and businesses that are seeking to make the most of AGOA and to diversify their exports to the United States.
Since its inception, AGOA has helped to increase US two-way trade with sub-Saharan Africa.