Ghana is engaged in international trade at the multilateral and regional level through participation in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), regional integration processes both within the wider African framework (African Union) and the sub-regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as well as with the European Union through the EU-ECOWAS Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
The trade policy environment is completed by the domestic policies of the Government of Ghana on trade, industrial and private sector development, on which the Ministry of Trade and Industry is the lead policy advisor with responsibility for the formulation and implementation of policies for the promotion, growth and development of domestic and international trade and industry.
Ghana has seen a significant increase in its trade with the rest of the world, experiencing an increase of over 60% in total trade value over the period from 2010 to 2014. The nominal value of imports has increased by over 40% and consisted mainly of manufactures. The value of exports increased by over 120% during the same period, consisting mainly of agricultural products (cocoa, fish, timber) and products from the extractive industries (gold and since 2010, also oil).
The EU is in a prime position when it comes to global trade. The openness of the EU's trade regime has meant that the EU is the biggest player on the global trading scene, accounting for around 16.4% of the world's import and exports in 2014. The EU is the most open to developing countries in the world. With fuels excluded, the EU imports more from developing countries than the USA, Canada, Japan and China put together. The EU continues to be a major trading partner for Ghana. The EU is the leading destination for Ghana's exports and the second largest source of Ghana's imports. Ghana's total bilateral trade with the 28 member states of the EU reached EUR 6 billion in 2014, which constituted over 20% of Ghana's total external trade in that year.
In 2014, EU exports to Ghana were dominated by machinery and transport equipment and mineral fuels. The structure of the European Union's imports from Ghana, traditionally predominantly agricultural products, has seen a shift with the advent of commercial oil production in Ghana in 2011, the import of which constituted a share of around 42% of all imports from Ghana to the EU in 2014.
The EU is committed to supporting Ghana and other Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) countries integrate into the world’s trading system with a view to expanding their trade and also to enabling the countries benefit from the global economy. This is why the EU and its Member States negotiated the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) with West Africa concluded in July 2014.
The EU and Africa Caribbean Pacific (ACP) countries
Since 1975 with the first Lomé Convention, the EU has granted non-reciprocal trade preferences to its African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) partner countries. However, this type of trade relationship between the EU and the ACP countries could not be continued.
In the Cotonou Agreement of 2000, the EU and the ACP countries therefore agreed to replace the previous non-reciprocal preferences by WTO compatible reciprocal trade arrangements in the form of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).
There are two types of EPAs: Regional EPAs and interim EPAs. The EPAs are designed on a broader basis than just a free trade agreement. They have also objectives concerning:
- Development and economic growth through trade and economic reforms.
- Regional integration as a key step towards further integration into the world economy.
- Eestablishing a level playing field between ACP and non-ACP developing countries.
- The EU market will be open to ACP goods completely and immediately.
- Differentiation, as each EPA will reflect the specific needs and interests of its target region.
- Building long-lasting political, economic, and development relationships
Voluntary Partnership Agreements
Illegal logging has a devastating impact on some of the world's most valuable remaining forests and the people that live in them and rely on the resources they provide. The European Union (EU)'s response to tackling illegal logging was set out in the Forest Law Enforcement and Governance, Trade (FLEGT) Action Plan in 2003. The cornerstone of this policy is the FLEGT VPA which is a bilateral agreement between the EU and a timber exporting country that seeks to promote sector governance and ensure that timber products imported into the EU have complied with the legal requirements of the partner country.
The EU is Ghana’s most valuable market, accounting for 43% of the value of total exports and 33% of total volume in recent years. Funding to assist Ghana in the implementation of the agreement is provided through a multi-donor sector budget support by France, the Netherlands, the UK, the World Bank and the European Commission. This is in addition to Ghana’s own funding.
Related Links: Illegal-Logging. info
The EU-ECOWAS Economic Partnership Agreement
The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations with West Africa, formally opened in 2003, have been concluded in July 2014 with the initialing of the Agreement. The West Africa regional configuration consists of ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) and Mauritania. ECOWAS numbers 15 countries – Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Cape Verde, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone – the first eight being members of WAEMU (West Africa Economic Monetary Union). To read more about ECOWAS click here.
Link to the full regional EPA: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX:52014PC0576
Other useful links:
Documentary on EPA by actors: : http://ec.europa.eu/trade/policy/countries-and-regions/regions/west-africa/
Putting Partnership into practice: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2017/october/tradoc_156340.pdf
Regional Indicative programme 11th EDF: https://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/sites/devco/files/eeas-2015-rip-west-africa_en.pdf