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16 trade organisations petition GITC over unfair practices

Sixteen trade organisations and industries have petitioned the Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC) over unfair trade practices ongoing in the country.

According to Executive Secretary of the Commission, Frank Agyekum, the petition, which was presented this year, was mostly to demand an implementation of countervailing subsidy measures to enable local goods compete with imported goods.

Five out of the sixteen trade organisations and industries, he said, have provided supporting materials as evidence to the commission to enable the conduct of investigations.

Speaking at a stakeholder’s workshop on safeguard measures and subsidy countervailing measures in Accra yesterday, he explained that, currently the Commission was concluding investigations on the petition by Aluworks Limited with hearing scheduled for next month.

He stated that other companies in the aluminium and steel industry including both manufacturers and importers had been invited by the Commission to make inputs and respond to the petition, as part of the ongoing investigations.

The measure currently under review was to prescribe the procedure for the submission of complaints in respect of a subsidy and manner for the imposition of countervailing duties.

It would further prescribe procedure for the filing for the imposition of a safeguard measure and the manner for the imposition of a safeguard measure.

Mr Agyekum said the Commission was focused on creating the right environment for local industries to expand and create employment opportunities for Ghana’s youth.

“We cannot achieve the Ghana Beyond Aid agenda if our industries are not competitive. Any development plan can only be successful if local manufacturers expand and grow our economy. The Commission exists in ensuring unfair trade practices which hinder the growth of local industries are resolved,” he stated.

Mr Kwasi Okoh, Managing Director of Aluworks Limited, said Aluworks applied for countervailing measures in 2011 to enable the company, which was faced with unfair trade practices, to compete with its foreign counterparts.

He said the company expected that in about six months, countervailing measures would be implemented to ensure that foreign companies, which benefited from rebase or subsidies in their original countries, had no trade advantages over local industries.

“We want a level playing field for all manufacturers. We have been suffering from this unfair trade practices for the last years resulting in Aluworks facing gradual collapse. Quality should be what determines sales and not price pressure which obviously does not favour local manufacturers which have no subsidies,” he added.

Chairman of the Commission, Dr Nana Adu-Gyamfi, reiterated the GITC’s commitment to promoting Ghana’s private sector in support of the country’s economic growth.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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