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USAID examines impact on trade-related fees and charges in Ghana

Accra, June 28, GNA
– The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) study on the
impact of trade-related fees and charges in Ghana shows a lack of transparency
as traders are usually unclear about the fees and charges.

The study, which
examined Ghana’s compliance with the World Trade Organisation Trade
Facilitation Agreement’s Fees and Charges, found out that a consolidated list
of trade-related fees and charges was not easily accessible.

“Traders are unclear
of what ends up being paid to the Ministries, Departments and Agencies, what is
paid in unofficial fees and how much goes directly to the freight forwarder,”
the report stated. 

Mr Robert Jackson, the
US Ambassador to Ghana, launched the study dubbed ‘the Cost of Trading in
Ghana’ at the monthly luncheon of the American Chamber of Commerce.

High-level Ghanaian
government officials and members of the private sector attended the event.

The study detailed how
official and unofficial fees and charges associated with trade impacted Ghana’s
trade volume, government revenues, and private sector viability.

Ghana undertook the
study as part of its efforts to comply with benchmark guidelines in the World
Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement.

He said the Trade
Facilitation Agreement, which went into effect on February 22, contained
provisions for expediting the movement, release, and clearance of goods.

He also set out
measure for Effective Corporation between customs and other appropriate
authorities on trade facilitation and custom compliance issues.

The Organisation for
Economic Cooperation and Development estimate that implementing the Trade
Facilitation Agreement could reduce worldwide trade costs by as much as 17.5 per
cent, with the greatest benefits accruing to African and developing countries.

At the event,
Ambassador Jackson stressed that adoption of the study’s recommendations and
implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement would foster increased
economic growth in Ghana.

“Ghana has tremendous
potential to be ‘the trade gateway of Africa’,” he said.

“The United States
will work with you to create an enabling business environment that builds on
your economic and political stability and creates jobs for the citizens of both
countries,” he added.

Ghana became a member
of the World Trade Organisation more than 20 years ago, in 1995 and became the
95th country to ratify the Trade Facilitation Agreement, the first multilateral
deal concluded in the WTO’s 22-year history.

“We applauded Ghana
for the role it played in advancing what many refer to as “the greatest trade
reform for a generation.”

He explained that
rationalising and reducing port and custom fees and charges does not
necessarily mean lost revenue.

“There are benefits to
eliminating “nuisance fees and charges,” and to ensuring that when fees and
charges are paid out, they are commensurate with service provision, adding that
such actions are attractive to business and facilitate increased trade.”

USAID works with the
Ghanaian government and private sector to target keys barriers to trade and
investment, and promote regional integration and trade competitiveness.

It aims to increase
intra-regional Africa trade and exports to the U.S. and reduce the time it takes
to import or export from ports to land locked interiors on the continent.

USAID is the lead U.S.
government agency that works to end extreme global poverty and enable
resilient, democratic societies to realise their potential.

It supports Ghana to
increase food security, improving basic health care, enhancing access to
quality basic education, and strengthening local governance to benefit all
Ghanaian people.

GNA

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