Ghana and US at a turning point in trade relations – Trade Minister
Minster for Trade and Industry, Alan Kyeremanteng, has said trade relations between Ghana and the U.S. is currently at a turning point on the back of some strategic considerations to be made by both countries.
Delivering a keynote address at the virtual 2021 U.S.–Ghana Business Forum organised by the American Chamber of Commerce, Ghana, the Trade Minister noted Ghana has had a long standing friendship with the U.S., but the long standing friendship between the two countries have not reflected in the desired level of trade among the two countries.
According to the Trade Minister, strategic considerations by the Ghanaian government in the introduction of aggressive programmes for industrial transformation offers strategic entry points for U.S. investors to invest in the country.
The Minister noted that investments into anchor strategic industries such as vehicle assembly and component manufacture, petrochemical, agro industry, industrial chemicals among others by U.S. investors will help enhance trade relations between the two countries.
“One of the Ghanaian government’s key strategic consideration is the launch of very aggressive programmes for industrial transformation which I believe offers strategic entry points for US investors into our country.
“These new strategic anchor industries that are part of the transformation agenda include vehicle assembling and component manufacturing, garment and textiles, petrochemicals manufacturing, agro-industry, Industrial chemicals, manufacture of machinery and equipment, iron and steel
“These strategic anchor industries are meant to diverse our economy away from cocoa and gold, and it is our view that with investments into energy and telecommunications and financial services, there are many new entry points for US Investors which have not yet been explored,” stated the Trade Minister.
Additionally, the Minister called for a strategic partnership between the U.S. and Ghana in the face of the damaging effects of the pandemic to ensure a full recovery post the Covid pandemic.
“The pandemic has had a devastating impact on Ghana as well as countries like the US and the recovery from it will depend on strategic partnerships formed and I believe Ghana and the US should develop one to ensure a post Covid recovery,” noted the Minister.
Speaking further, the Minister called for deliberations on the future of trade relations between Africa and for that matter Ghana and the US post the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which expires in 2025.
Enacted in 2000, the United States’ African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which provides duty-free exports for African countries into the US market has been extended for four (4) more years.
The extension of the AGOA allows Ghanaian exporters to continue exporting duty-free goods into the US market.
Renewed confidence in the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has resulted in an upward trend, with the country’s trade under the programme registering a total of $748million last year, according to the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GNCCI).
After reaching its peak in 2011 with exports earnings of $779 million and subsequent decline in 2012, when it recorded $292 million.
Ghana’s performance under AGOA has been sustained by its broadly diversified exports to the USA in the areas of textiles and apparel, energy-related products, agricultural products, footwear, and minerals and metals.
The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) has been at the core of U.S. economic policy and commercial engagement with Africa. AGOA provides eligible sub-Saharan African countries with duty-free access to the U.S. market for over 1,800 products, in addition to the more than 5,000 products that are eligible for duty-free access under the Generalized System of Preferences program.
To meet AGOA’s rigorous eligibility requirements, countries must establish or make continual progress toward establishing a market-based economy, the rule of law, political pluralism, and the right to due process.
Additionally, countries must eliminate barriers to U.S. trade and investment, enact policies to reduce poverty, combat corruption and protect human rights.
By providing new market opportunities, AGOA has helped bolster economic growth, promoted economic and political reform, and improved U.S. economic relations in Sub-Saharan Africa.