GITC to gov’t: Check unfair Trade Practices

The Executive Secretary of the Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC), Mr. Frank Agyekum has emphasised the significance of his outfit’s work in safeguarding Ghanaian companies from unfair trade practices on the international stage.

According to him, international trade is akin to war and all manner of tactics are deployed to undercut competition in the global arena.

One of such common unfair trading practices, he said, is dumping, where the price of a product sold in the importing country, in this case Ghana, is less than the price of that product in the market of the originating country.

Mr. Agyemang said this price discrimination strategy is done deliberately to offset competition from local industry with the ultimate goal of monopolising the local market.

“For instance a product at the country of origin sells at 100 dollars but despite freight charges and taxes, still sells at 80 dollars in the importing country. The purpose is to dump the market in the receiving country, make sure our industries are disabled, and then eventually those companies from the original country can monopolise the product in the host country.

When that happens, the local companies are unable to make profits and expand as they want to because market share is reduced or taken over by the foreign entities. When local industries cannot expand, they lay off workers, and are unable to pay the requisite taxes to help develop the nation.”

He said, the GITC, Ghana’s trade remedy institution has since its inception four years ago been correcting some of these practices going against the local economy.

Mr. Agyekum revealed that the GITC has over recent years worked on six cases of dumping with the ruling in favour of Aluworks, the local manufacturer of aluminium products in Ghana, prominent among them.

According to him, the Aluworks case led to an anti-dumping duty imposed on the foreign perpetrators.

He expressed that it is the wish for GITC to close several other petitions in favor of Ghanaians, but Ghanaian companies often lack the requisite data to back their claims.

He urged such companies to endeavor to collect and keep data in their business dealings to enable the GITC mediate for them effectively.

He said all the developed countries Ghana and its African counterparts seek to emulate, take such contingency measures to promote local industry very seriously and African countries must pay equal attention to what happens on their turf.

Mr. Agyekum lamented that sadly only four other countries in Africa have set up institutions like the GITC to serve the purpose of checking these unfair trade practices.

“I believe there should be more countries because we compete with countries who know what they are about who do everything to ensure that they get what they want. We have to put measures in place to ensure that we match them boot for boot. If not, we will always be found wanting”

The Executive Secretary of the Ghana International Trade Commission said it has become more imperative for Ghana and its counterparts in the continent to create such structures in the era of the Free Trade Area.

“If we are not careful about these things, others more advanced than us in terms of production capacity, will come in and swarm the market and we will end hosting the secretariat and yet not getting the right benefits from AfCFTA,” he articulated.

In a related development, the Centre for International Maritime Affairs, Ghana (CIMAG) has cited a report by the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC) to be misleading in its classification of piracy incidents in the Gulf of Guinea.

The Executive Director of CIMAG, Albert Derrick Fiatui said the claim by the IMB that Ghana has the highest number of attacks in the region is inaccurate.

“Piracy per the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is the attack of vessels on the high Seas. Armed robbery and theft is what happens in the internal waters. What was captured in the report, was what we experienced last year at the Port of Takoradi, which were three theft cases. So if we are following the definition strictly from the and the UNCLOS, the report is misleading,” he asserted.

He said such reportage goes a long way to derail efforts made by authorities to secure Ghana’s territorial waters in addition to making the area unattractive for the maritime business.

“Issues about piracy for about two years now, has been on the decline and as people in the industry we are happy. So when a report is put out and it is not accurate, that means that the work done is being thrown to the dogs and we have to correct that erroneous impression.

“You know that most of us in the Gulf of Guinea are import-dependent economies, so, when there is that fear about piracy which is not true, then we are putting ourselves into trouble. Therefore, it is only appropriate that we correct what has been put out there,” he added.

CIMAG therefore assured the shipping community that Ghana has not recorded any piracy incident within the period of the report or the past year and urged the shipping community to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the appropriate authorities.

“Our waters are safe and our businessmen should feel free, interact with their partners and ship their wares into the Gulf region. Also, we have people finding it hard to become seafarers because of the challenges they face.

“These reports put fear in them. Our young people who are interested in the maritime industry and want to become seafarers should know that, a lot of work is being done to get rid of piracy and the fear that their lives will be in danger when they go to sea,” Mr. Fiatui lamented.


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