The Ministry of Trade and Industry has commenced a nationwide training of staff of the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) to enable them undertake their mandate in ensuring compliance with Rules of Origin under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
This follows the ratification of the interim EPA between Ghana and the European Union (EU). The lack of appreciation for the value of rules of origin in international trade, has been cited as one of the challenges affecting Ghanaian exporters.
According to a Rules of Origin expert, Martin Wilde, the development often compels such exporters to pay more for tariffs on their exports. Martin Wilde in an interview with CitiFm, said the implementation of the rules of origin will protect Ghanaian exporters from some avoidable charges that they bear in their line of business.
“Rules of Origin gives an economic nationality to a product and if for example cocoa that is produced in Ghana, that is only obtained from Ghana. Preferential rules of origin, the EPA which is a free trade agreement, it allows exporters to export without any duty to the European Union,” he stated.
Mr. Wilde also believes there is the need to equip the country’s revenue collection agencies to be able to meet internationally accepted standards for exports.
“So it is a case of raising awareness and putting policies and regulations in place to ensure that both customs and traders apply the rules correctly,” he explained.
The EPA will provide duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market for an unlimited period for all imports originating from Ghana. In return Ghana will gradually liberalise 75 per cent of imports from the EU over 20 years.
Ghana finally ratified the Interim Agreement on August 2, 2016 after nine years of signing onto the agreement in 2007. Meanwhile efforts are being made to get other African economies to sign onto same to enhance duty and quota free access to the EU markets and vice versa.