UK targets ‘record-high’ trade with Ghana by 2020
As it sheds its European Union membership, the UK is in a frantic search for options that will brace its economy against shocks, and this includes a target to achieve “record high” trade with Ghana by the year 2020.
A UK Ghana Chamber of Commerce has been formed to drive that goal, and according to British High Commissioner, Jon Benjamin, Ghana would have to address regulatory bottlenecks, including licensing rules, customs procedures and land registration issues, to make it possible.
Trade between the two countries fell from £1.3 billion in 2013 to £1billion in 2014, and according to the High Commissioner, it does not look like 2015 figures will be much higher, adding that “we still aim for that overall figure to recover and, indeed, reach a record high by 2020.”
In a paper titled “Ghana’s thoughtless ratification of the interim EPA, based on false data,” French Economist, Jacques Berthelot, argues that Brexit does matter for Ghana, estimating that UK imports from Ghana in 2015 accounted for 24.1% of EU imports in value.
“In particular the UK accounts for 55.8% of all EU28 bananas imports from Ghana and for 53.5% of processed tuna, against 28.8% for pineapples and 9.2% of processed cocoa.
This is the reason why total GSP [Generalised System of Preferences] duties to pay to the EU would be a third lower to the EU28-UK than to the EU28,” Jacques Berthelot explained.
Whilst faulting the €400million the Trade Ministry said Ghana would lose without the EPA, calling it “pure fantasy,” Jacques Berthelot said Brexit will reduce by a third whatever EU duties the country would endure under the GSP.
Government has hinted the two countries will enter into bilateral talks following Brexit, but Jon Benjamin said “market conditions and sound economic management in Ghana will be a key consideration for those companies we are encouraging to become involved here.”
He also wants the government of Ghana to stick to the IMF programme and see it through successfully, to boost investor confidence in the economy.
Launching the chamber last Thursday, Jon Benjamin asserted that UK companies have a huge choice as to where they trade and invest worldwide and in doing so, “they are naturally driven by hard business calculations, not sentiments.”
The UKGCC will promote, foster, and represent UK business interest in Ghana by directly helping UK companies to identify market opportunities and provide them with a first point of call when looking to do business in and trade with Ghanaian counterparts.
The Chamber will also support Ghanaian companies that want to link up with counterparts in the UK to grow. It will also provide services to Ghanaian companies that want to export to, and invest in the UK as well.