Ghanaian businesses that export products to the UK will be compelled to pay tariffs on their goods exported from next year after Britain exits the European Union.
This is will happen if the government fails to sign a continuity agreement for its exporters to enjoy the benefit of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the UK.
One of the major exporters of fruits to UK, Golden Exotic, is making an appeal to the Government of Ghana to have an agreement with the UK before the Brexit deadline.
Managing director of Golden Exotic, Benedict Rich, told Joy Business after a tour of the company’s farm in Kasunya, near Asutuare in the Greater Accra Region that, “I am sure the government is working behind the scenes to get things done for us but the issue is that all the contracts for banana and pineapple are done yearly so if an agreement is not signed, exporters will add about €114 a tonne for all bananas to the UK. I can tell you all the supermarkets have started adding on to the tender document for next year already because they haven’t seen any agreement.”
He added: “€114 will translate into a loss for us because the time is too short for us to make any change and the earlier government moves in the better for us.”
He said there is a need for the interim EPA agreement to be renegotiated country-by-country on different terms so that the trade can continue.
“The banana we produce suits so well with the UK and they take about 55 per cent of all our products exported into the European market. This means exporting to the UK will no longer be profitable and we may have to find a new market which you know can’t be done within weeks,” he said.
The more than 10,000 hectares of banana farm, he noted, is under threat especially if the UK leaves without a deal, a situation which will also mean less of jobs for the more than 2,000 direct and indirect workers on the farm.
The Managing Director is also pressing on the government to renegotiate a rollover of the EPA agreement with the UK before October this year.