ICC Ghana is delighted to announce the ratification of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement by the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana. The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building. The Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) amendment protocol was adopted by the WTO in 2014, consequently paving the way for member countries of the WTO to ratify the agreement through their domestic legislative procedures.
In recent times, exporters, importers and manufacturers have decried the high cost of doing businesses at Ghana’s ports and borders. The delays and its attendant cost have placed huge burden on businesses, making the agreement an essential part of addressing this phenomenon. It is estimated that the trade facilitation agreement could reduce business costs by between $350 billion and $1 trillion, according to WTO (WTO, 2013), and could increase world trade by between $33 billion and $100 billion in global exports per year and $67 billion in global GDP (World Bank, OECD,2011).
Following the delay in the ratification and implementation of the agreement, ICC Ghana this year led a coalition made up of Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), Ghana Employers Association, Ghana Shippers Authority, World Trade Centre (WTC) Accra, Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders (GIFF), Federation of Association of Ghanaian Exporters (FAGE), Ship Owners Association of Ghana, Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) and West Blue Consulting to advocate for the ratification of the agreement. The advocacy which was funded by BUSAC and supported by the Ministry of Trade and Industry led to extensive education of the business community on the benefits of ratifying the agreement. An international dimension of the advocacy resulted in a seminar on trade facilitation agreement by the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in September this year.
At the 1st anniversary of the National Single Window project and launch of the Single Window manual, the Chairman of ICC Ghana, Alhaji Asoma Banda called on the Government and Parliament of Ghana to ratify the TFA. The recommendations from the advocacy supported the National Committee on Trade Facilitation of the Ministry of Trade and Industry which has culminated in the ratification of the agreement by the Parliament of Ghana.
The Secretary General of ICC Ghana, Mr Emmanuel Doni-Kwame stated that the Trade Facilitation Agreement is very important to businesses because it can have a major impact on bringing down trade transaction costs. Trade transaction costs are highest in developing countries, which are least able to carry transaction cost burdens. He highlighted the need for the private sector to bring its expertise to bear in assisting the government in the implementation of the agreement.
ICC Ghana wishes to thank the Government of Ghana, Parliament of Ghana, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, National Coalition members, West Blue Consulting, the business community and all other stakeholders for the effort put in having the agreement ratified.
International Chamber of Commerce Ghana (ICC Ghana), one of the world business organization’s 89 national committees located worldwide, was re-launched in March 2014. The launch, in one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, is set to strengthen the presence of ICC in Africa and further expand ICC’s extensive global network that currently comprises 6.5 million enterprises in over 130 countries.