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Ghana looks to simplify international trade procedures

Ghana’s international trade accounted for 85% of GDP in 2015. However, in Ghana it still takes 4.5 days to complete an export transaction and 11.7 days to complete an import transaction. As a result, some of the key issues that haunt traders are delayed customs clearance, poor infrastructure, high transport costs and administrative procedures among others. The heavy dependence on international trade makes Ghanaian stakeholders pursue more trade facilitation reforms, including ratification of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

This proactive stance by stakeholders materialized in the three workshops on the use of the Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide (TFIG), organized by UN/CEFACT and the Ghana Revenue Authority from 19-24 September 2016 in Accra.

The events brought together about 70 participants from the government, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, including the Ghana Institute of Freight Forwarders, Ghana Union of Traders’ Association, Ghana Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Association of Ghana Industries , and National Security in Accra.

The Commissioner-General for the Ghana Revenue Authority, Mr. George Blankson said ‘the workshops will be extremely useful to undertake policy reforms in cutting red tapes and improve coordination among the agencies to expedite trade transactions’. Through the workshops, interactive exercises and tailor-made presentations, participants gained significant knowledge of trade facilitation measures and WTO TFA, learning how to use the TFIG. They were challenged to share best practices and encouraged to reflect upon avenues for enhanced interagency cooperation, as well as mechanisms to overcome major trade facilitation barriers.