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Business News of Sunday, 23 August 2020

Source: www.ghanaweb.com

Cocoa industry to soon enjoy zero tariffs in China's market – Ambassador hints

Ghana’s Ambassador to China has hinted of discussions with the Chinese government to allow cocoa producers from Ghana to enjoy zero tariffs on products on China’s market.

This follows the launch of an Africa Cocoa Centre which is intended to serve as a trading hub that connects African cocoa products to the Asian market.

Speaking at a virtual launch of the centre, Ambassador Edward Boateng explained the Centre will offer revenue generation for Ghana’s cocoa industry.

“The opening of this centre will help us to enter into the Chinese market. We are looking at how we partner the Chinese side to find new uses for our cocoa in this market other than just producing chocolate.”

“We are going to engage the Chinese central government about having a zero tariff for our products coming onto this market. We buy some of these chocolates not because they are any better than the ones we are producing, but because of the brand, packaging and the way it is presented,” the Ambassador hinted.

He explained; “We brought a lot of chocolate to China and for the first time, people tasted Ghanaian chocolate and they always tell you that this chocolate is delicious. This is because our chocolate is about 80 percent pure chocolate whereas a lot of the chocolates we buy have additives.”

Mr Boateng said the days of cocoa producers not able to meet their deadlines due to their lack of adequate capacity ought to be over and suggested for incentives to be granted to producers.

“They are hardly able to meet deadlines because we don’t have the capacity with the exception of a few companies. And those few companies are overburdened. So, the question is can’t we expand the scope of those already in the market? And those who want to come in, what incentives can we give them,?” he quizzed.

He added; “In the past, if a bean of cocoa could only produce one chocolate, with the new innovation we are looking at, a bean of cocoa should be able to produce a bar of chocolate, the infilling for dumplings, cocoa wine, cosmetics, etc. So, through this innovation, we are hoping that we can generate more income through the cocoa. Because, if the cocoa industry worldwide is worth about US$150 billion, our share of that income is only US$2 billion and that is why the President tasked us that we should find alternative markets and uses for our cocoa.”

The move by Ghana to break into the Asian market with a range of cocoa products commenced in 2018 after the Ghana-China Cocoa International Exchange (GCCIE) was unveiled in the historic Chinese city of Changsha in the Hunan Province.