Ghanaian exporters urged to utilise AGOA
Nana Dr Appiagyei Dankawoso, the President of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI), has called on exporters, especially Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises, to fully utilise the benefits of the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA).
Nana Dankawoso, who made the call at a sensitisation workshop for export-ready companies in Accra, said by fully utilising the benefits of AGOA, they would enjoy duty-free treatment on their exports to the United State under the Generalised System of Reference among other things.
Organised jointly by the Chamber and the USAID’s West Africa Trade and Investment Hub, the workshop aimed at increasing public awareness on regional trade and AGOA.
Nana Dankawoso stressed the need to encourage private business enterprises to increase their exports through targeted business advisory services and financial assistance for the purposes of capacity development because of the huge market potentials for Ghana’s exports in America.
He said the Chamber was highly honoured to host the AGOA Trade Resource Centre in Ghana which “seeks to encourage the private sector for regional and global trade assistance.”
Nana Dankawoso said early last year, the GNCCI signed a letter of collaboration with the USAID West Africa Trade and Investment Hub and the African Partners Network Project, with financial assistance from the USAID to establish a framework for co-operation in the implementation of the AGOA Trade Resource Centre activities.
He expressed optimism that the series of technical workshops slated for August to December 2017 would go a long way to address problems facing export-ready companies, build their capacities, and fully utilise the benefits under AGOA.
Mr Bill Noble, the Value Chain Development Specialist at the West Africa Trade and Investment Hub, pledged the USAID’s determination to offer technical and financial support for the private sector in Africa.
He said the Hub would collaborate with a network of West African private sector partners and public institutions to help reduce poverty, raise incomes, create jobs and increase food security.
Mr Anthony Nyame-Baafi, the Director in-charge of Multilateral, Regional and Bilateral Trade at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, pledged the Ministry’s continuous assistance to exporters to enable them to adopt best business practices and to fully benefit from AGOA by taking advantage of the potentials in US market.
Mr Julius Bradford Lamptey, the Head of Research and Advocacy at the Chamber, and the Co-ordinator of the AGOA Trade Resource Centre, said: “AGOA accords duty-free treatment to virtually all products exported by beneficiary sub-Saharan countries to the US.”
He said AGOA benefits were currently extended to 17 sub-Saharan countries enjoying more than 1,800 tariff line items, in addition to the 4,600 items already enjoying duty-free status under the US Generalised System of Reference programme.
He indicated that AGOA had added items to the list of duty-free products including major import-sensitive items such as apparel, footwear, luggage, handbags and watches.
Mr Emmanuel Odonkor, the Apparel Specialist at the Trade Hub, said a lot of work needed to be done in the garment sector since it had a lot of potentials.
Mr Mark Badu-Aboagye, the Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said it would continue to organise workshops to help build the capacities of exporters to enable them to derive the maximum benefits from AGOA.