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General News of Friday, 28 March 2014

Source: XYZ

EPAs: Ghana will support ECOWAS position – Hanna Tetteh

Ghana’s government says it will support whatever regional decision is reached on the Economic Partnership Agreements by the Economic Community for West African Countries (ECOWAS).

Foreign Affairs Minister, Hanna Tetteh told Journalists in The Ivory Coast that: “we can’t have a single country position. That is the whole thing about having a regional agreement. We must have a regional consensus.”

According to her, “it’s not a question of what is Ghana’s stance because this is an ECOWAS decision. Either we all agree or we don’t agree.”

African leaders in the ECOWAS sub-region, including Ghana’s President John Mahama, are meeting in Yamoussoukro, in The Ivory Coast, on the EPAs.

The EPAs are legally binding bilateral contracts between the European Union (EU) and individual African countries.

Once signed, EPAs warrant that within two decades, about 80% of that country’s market should open to European goods and services tariff-free. The European Parliament has granted the African countries an extension until October 2014 to ratify their interim EPAs.

There’s a phalanx of civil society organisations resisting the signing of the EPAs back home. The Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC), the Christian Council of Ghana, the Ghana Chamber of Commerce, the Socialist Forum, and the Economic Justice Network of Ghana are among some of the harshest critics. They have petitioned President John Mahama against signing it. West African giant Nigeria has said it will not sign the agreement.