By Gloria Anderson
Ghanaian exporters have received crucial advice on the importance of thorough inquiry and self-education before venturing into international markets.
This counsel was provided during a comprehensive training session organized by the EU-funded Compete Ghana initiative in partnership with the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MOTI), which formed part of the 10 training modules earmarked to ensure a smooth implementation of the EPA.
The training aimed to equip agencies in the export and import value chain with the knowledge required for smooth trade under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Ghana and the EU.
Key points covered in the training included the necessity for exporters to understand the specific requirements of their target markets, navigate the certification processes diligently, and secure essential export licenses, particularly for shipments to the EU.
The workshop, which attracted participants from both public and private sectors involved in exports, focused on the intricate Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures outlined in the EPA.
Participants gained insight into various facets of international trade, such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement on SPS, exclusions from SPS coverage, and the role of the EU and AU frameworks within Ghana’s trade policies.
Additionally, they received guidance on resolving disputes under the SPS agreement.
Mr. Nicholas Gebara, the Team Lead of Compete Ghana, emphasized the significance of the training, especially in addressing issues related to agro-processed products, fresh produce, and tropical fruits exported to the EU.
He highlighted concerns about pests and diseases that could jeopardize the quality of fresh produce, underscoring ttrainTtal role of trainng for key export agencies.
The team lead stressed the importance of coordinated efforts among these agencies in dealing with issues related to contaminated or non-compliant products, aiming to improve trade facilitation.
Compete Ghana is actively working on implementing digital traceability systems and early warning mechanisms to enhance agency coordination.
Mr. James Hammond, the facilitator, elucidated the role of SPS measures in safeguarding human, animal, and plant health, mandated by the WTO.#
He noted that the EU had established these measures to ensure the well-being of its citizens, thereby emphasizing the significance of compliance for exporters seeking access to the EU market under the EPA.
The facilitator pointed out specific compliance requirements, such as maximum residue levels for chemicals used in crop protection.
He highlighted that exceeding these limits could result in rejection of products by the EU, emphasizing the importance of adhering to international standards.
Mr. Hammond encouraged participants to seize this training opportunity, recognizing it as a gateway to preferential treatment and increased exports from Ghana.
“By prioritizing education, compliance, and collaboration, Ghanaian exporters can navigate the complexities of international trade successfully and tap into the promising EU market under the EPA,” he added.
Madam Malgorzata Pitura, Programme Officer, Macro-economic and trade section, EU, said the EU delegation was pleased with the training because Ghanaian counterparts of the exportation sector were excited to improve their knowledge on the export procedures.
She assured the Ghanaian counterparts, particularly the private sector of their support, stating that they would continue to support them, to increase the volumes of exports to the EU market.
Madam Comfort Ofori Essumang, representative of Ghana Standards Authority, on behalf of the participants expressed appreciation to Compete Ghana for the technical assistance.
She appealed to the organizers to organise such training to boost Ghanaian exports to the EU market.