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Business News of Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Source: GNA

Ghana-EU delegation meets on implementation of trade protocol

Accra, July 6, GNA - The Ghana-European Union Joint Monitoring and Review Mechanism (JMRM) for the Voluntary Partnership Agreement (VPA) on Wednesday met in Accra to deliberate on various issues concerning the implementation of the agreement.

Some of the issues to be discussed include the legislative review, policy up-date, rules of arbitration and legality assurance system under th= e VPA. The VPA, which is a requisite protocol agreement on trade compliance, requires stringent measures to ensure that no illegal products are allowed unto the EU market and is therefore subject to a yearly review. Mr Henry Ford Kamel, Deputy Minister of Lands and Natural Resources, said although Ghana had not been able to meet the timeline set for the tota= l implementation of the trade agreement, it was committed to work hard to achieve the required results.

"We have faced various challenges in the implementation process due to the fact that Ghana is the first country to sign and implement such an agreement and therefore has no lessons from others to learn from," he sai= d.

The Deputy Minister, however, stated that the Ministry, which was the implementing Agency, had put in place various measures including the establishment of a good traffic system and quality assurance mechanisms to ensure that only legally verified woods (timber) got to the EU market. Mr Kamel said the Ministry had embarked on the process of reviewing th= e Forestry and Wildlife laws to comply with the VPA requirements and also appointed an independent monitoring team to oversee the various processes o= f implementation of the requirements and was in the process of validating its report. He thanked the EU for its support to Ghana, saying the world would be watching to see the country as a model for the successful implementation of the VPA in other countries.

Mr Claude Maerten, Head of the EU Delegation, commended Ghana for the success so far in the implementation of the legal protocol for the VPA. He said the country had a huge potential in the EU market and gave the assurance that the EU would remain committed to supporting and providing th= e needed technical assistance to ensure a successful implementation process.