We’ll Protect Local Businesses from Unfair Competition - Trade Commission

30-08-2019

We’ll Protect Local Businesses from Unfair Competition - Trade Commission

The Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC) has expressed its resolve to protect local businesses from unfair competition, in the wake of the coming into force of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

According to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the GITC, Mr. Frank Agyekum, the commission had put in place the needed structures to guard against unfair trade practices such as subsidization of goods and the dumping of products in the country.

Mr. Agyekum, who gave the assurance in an interview with the Daily Graphic in Accra, said the commission had developed four legislative instruments (LIs) to facilitate its mandate of ensuring fair competition for local businesses.

The LIs are on anti-dumping, customs valuation, subsidy regimes, and safety measures.

GITC

The GITC was established by an Act of Parliament in September 2016 to regulate the country’s international trade architecture, in conformity with the rules and regulations of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and other international trading systems and rules.

According to the GITC Act, 2016 (Act 926), the objectives of the commission include ensuring fair competition for persons engaged in domestic production and international trade, overseeing Ghana’s compliance with international trade rules and regulations, protecting the domestic industry or market from the impact of unfair trade practices and ensuring transparency, fairness, efficiency and objectivity in the application of measures affecting international trade and the use of world trade measures.


It also has the mandate to advise, recommend and provide analytical support for the Minister of Trade and Industry on proposals for trade-related legislation, tariff levels for specific sectors of the economy and on matters affecting trade and industry, after monitoring and reviewing the country’s international trade practices, among others.

Unfair trade

The establishment of the GITC was against the backdrop of unfair trade practices such as dumping, piracy, abuse of trademarks and counterfeiting.

Also, there had been instances when manufacturers had claimed that importers of similar goods they manufactured declared and paid fewer import tariffs, thereby undercutting prices in the domestic market.


The GITC was, therefore, set up as an institutional body, with legal and regulatory powers, to receive complaints, investigate and adjudicate where the trading public felt they were experiencing unfair trade.

Commitment

Mr. Agyekum said the GITC had girded its loins and was ready to play its role to protect Ghanaian companies.

“The implementation of the AfCFTA will mean that trade will be more liberalized and, therefore, many people will try to use that opportunity to dump their products in our country or engage in more unfair trade practices that will affect our local companies,” he stated.

According to the CEO, he would work to ensure that there was a level playing field for local companies to compete favorably with foreign companies.

“The GITC is ready to deal with this anticipated challenge head-on. So long as local companies are complying with fair trade laws, they will not be short-changed under our watch,” he added.

Advice

Mr. Agyekum, however, advised local companies to build their capacities and be prepared to take advantage of the opportunities that the AfCFTA would offer.

“The fact of the matter is that local companies must live up to expectation in the new dispensation because liberalized markets come along with competition.

“Many of the competitors will be coming from a background where their economies of scale are better, production capacity is higher, there are better machinery and low production cost because of better tariffs and other factors of production,” he added.

GUTA’s concerns

Meanwhile, the Ghana Union of Traders Association (GUTA) has expressed reservations about the ability of the GITC to protect local companies from unfair trade.

The President of GUTA, Dr. Joseph Obeng, told the Daily Graphic that GUTA’s skepticism stemmed from the fact that foreigners had invaded the local retail trade sector, against the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) Act which barred them from engaging in retail trade.

He, therefore, said the association did not have confidence in the GITC’s commitment to protecting local companies.

Background

On July 23, 2019, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo gave an assurance that the government would ensure the protection of local industries from unfair competition.

He referred to the establishment of the GITC as a testament to the government’s resolve to deal with the nagging situation.

The President gave the assurance when he visited the Twyford Keda-Ghana Ceramics Company, manufacturers of ceramic floor and wall tiles, at Shama in the Western Region.

 

Source : https://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/business/We-ll-protect-local-businesses-from-unfair-competition-Trade-Commission-775813

 

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