News Column

Ghana, EU Call for Early Conclusion of Talks on EPAs

July 9, 2012

Ghana and the European Union (EU) Friday called for early conclusion of talks on the proposed Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between EU and the sub- regional body Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), according to a release issued by Ghana's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration.

The West African country and the EU delegation to Ghana pledged their commitment to the EPAs in line with the Cotonou Agreement at a political dialogue meeting here on Tuesday.

While reaffirming their resolve to take all necessary steps to ensure this was done, the two partners acknowledged the mutual benefits accruing from the Interim EPAs initialed in 2007 between Ghana and the EU.

They said the implementation of the EPAs should be "finalized to promote further the investment climate between the two partners ".

While Vice President John Dramani Mahama led the Ghanaian delegation, the EU delegation was led by their head of delegation in Ghana, Claude Maerten.

Both partners reaffirmed their ambition to maintain and develop a deep and long-term strategic partnership based on the shared values of the Cotonou Agreement.

In June 2000, the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries signed a partnership deal with the European Commission (EC) in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, marking the beginning of a new era in the relationship between the ACP States and the EU.

Article 8 of the Agreement stipulates that "the Parties (to the Agreement) shall regularly engage in a comprehensive, balanced and deep political dialogue leading to commitments on both sides."

Ghana and the EU agreed to maintain and develop further a bilateral investment framework for the promotion and protection of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). They expressed the need for a more structured dialogue for tackling obstacles to trade and investments.

Both the EU and Ghana emphasized the need to promote sustainable economic growth and diversification, trade liberalization and an environment conducive for private sector development.

The EU said its traditional country strategy would be replaced by the Compact signed at the Consultative Group Meeting between the government of Ghana and its Development Partners last month.

The partners agreed that the EU Joint programming be kept simple and pragmatic to cover the specific needs of Ghana.

The EPAs, a key element of the Cotonou Agreement, are designed to create a Free Trade Area (FTA) between the EU and the ACP countries. These agreements, especially the non-reciprocal and discriminating portions, have been criticized as being incompatible with rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Source: Copyright Xinhua News Agency - CEIS 2012

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