UK negotiates new trade deal with Ghana after cutting ties with EU

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo

Ghana and the United Kingdom (UK) have agreed on new trade deals following the severing of ties between the latter and the European Union (EU).

The intention is for the agreement to provide duty-free and quota-free access for Ghana and the same preferential tariff reductions for British exporters as provided by the arrangement that is currently in force.

The agreement is expected to be finalised in the next few weeks to reflect progress made in relation to rules of origin, cumulation arrangements, time-bound commitments, provisions for development cooperation and commitments to human rights and good governance.

A treaty was finalised on New Year’s Eve which grants the UK to stop following EU rules as replacement arrangements for travel, trade, immigration and security co-operation came into force.

Subsequently, the UK has embarked on a move to secure partnerships that will spur the growth of its economy in a new era of independence.

With Ghana being a long-time partner, UK Secretary of State for International Trade, Rt Hon Liz Truss engaged in an online meeting with Ghana’s Minister of Trade & Industry, Alan Kyerematen, to chart a new path.

“Today we are pleased to announce that we have reached a consensus on the main elements of a new trade agreement. This provides the basis to replicate, the effects of the existing trade relationship between the UK and Ghana – a relationship which is underpinned by our strong people to people connections and has driven economic growth, created jobs and inspired creativity and innovation in both our countries,” a joint statement issued after the video conference stated.

The UK said it re-affirms shared ambition to further strengthen partnerships in the future and to work with West African partners to make progress towards a regional agreement.

The UK officially left the 27-member political and economic bloc on 31 January, three and half years after the UK public voted to leave in the 2016 Brexit referendum.

But it stuck to the EU’s trading rules for 11 months while the two sides negotiated their future economic partnership.

Ghana exports to the United Kingdom was US$415.12 million during 2019, according to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade.

Britain on the other hand, also exported goods and services worth £722 million to Ghana in 2019 and imported 498 million of goods – mostly oil, fish, cocoa and fruit.

Reuters reports that Britain has signed “continuity” agreements with 63 other countries to safeguard terms on £885 billion ($1.21 trillion) of trade, including partners like Canada and Switzerland.

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