Dr Obed Yao Asamoah
Dr Obed Yao Asamoah

by Justice Lee Adoboe

A senior Ghanaian politician has cautioned Ghana and other West African states to be wary of any Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that could work to the disadvantage of their economies.

Dr Obed Yao Asamoah
Dr Obed Yao Asamoah

Obed Yao Asamoah (Ph D), former Foreign Affairs minister, urged that the EPAs issue needed to be handled in such a way that they did not dislocate the economies of the West African countries.
Asamoah, also a former Foreign minister and Attorney General, made this call during the launch of his 740-page book entitled ?Political History of Ghana: From 1950 to 2013?.

?The EPAs require such a handling as does not disadvantage us, while at the same time they may provide opportunity to promote our economic interests,? Asamoah stated, speaking directly to serving and retired envoys of Ghana who patronized the event.

The seasoned politician, who is also a former law lecturer at the country?s premiere university, the University of Ghana, Legon, urged the governments to scrutinize courses advocated by the donor communities that they themselves did not accept.

?For example, subsidy to agriculture is so strongly decried by some of them while we all know how heavily the European Union (EU) and the United States subsidize agriculture,? Asamoah said.
He argued that while importation of foreign goods was unavoidable, the ravaging ?buy and sell? mentality ?which is destroying the country? must be discouraged.

He wondered why Ghanaians should be importing tooth pick and other such items into the country.
?While government has to take a firm stand against the importation of things that we can produce, ambassadors should also not be too eager to entertain Ghanaians coming into their countries of accreditation to import such things as toothpick,? Asamoah urged.
He asked the country?s ambassadors to be vigilant to prevent the exportation of toxic waste or the dumping of sub-standard goods on Ghana.

Ghana, he said, said would uphold the decision of sub-regional bloc Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the EPAs.
ECOWAS agreed in principle to sign the EPAs with the EU but as a sub-regional group rather than individual countries.
This would have opened 70 percent of the sub-regional market to European products on quota-free and tariff free basis.
Some stakeholders, including the Third World Network (TWN) Africa, have vehemently opposed the signing of the EPAs from the beginning, and have succeeded in bringing the sub-regional states together as one bloc to negotiate the EPAs with their EU counterparts.
?However, the EPAs are still the same, the terms have not changed as EU intends to dominate our markets with their goods,? Gyekye Tanoh, Head of Political Economy Unit at the TNW-Africa, told Xinhua over the phone.
?We are still against the EPAs. Nothing has changed in spite of the time it has taken to negotiate the terms,? he said.

The EU designed the EPAs, a scheme to create a free trade areas (FTA) between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP).
But this has been criticized as being in favor of the EU who are better placed to export finished products to the ACP countries than their partners are to do to EU countries.
The ECOWAS member- states are working hard to adopt a common external tariff by January 2015 as the final step to entering into full EPAs with the EU.

Source: Justice Lee Adoboe

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