Mr. Scott Eisner, President of the United States (US)-Africa Business Center, has stated that consultations are ongoing for the setting up of platforms for American investors on the continent to examine protocols under the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
According to the Head of the leading Advocacy group of the US Chamber of Commerce, the move is to ensure continuity of regulations across markets and to strengthen US-Africa trade relations.
“We know that this is an African Trade agreement for Africa but investors around the world should also have opportunity to look at the protocols that are being written.”Mr. Scott Eisner
Mr. Scott Eisner made this known when speaking at the US-Ghana Business Forum. He disclosed that there would be workshops on digital economy, protocols on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), among others to provide insight to members of the US Chamber of Commerce so they could grow with Africa.
Mr. Scott noted that the Chamber is the world’s largest business federation representing nearly 3 million companies.
On his part, the Deputy Secretary US Department of Commerce, Mr. Don Graves, averred that the US is committed to fostering a strong, long-term partnership that is respectful, mutual, and prosperous to Ghana and the continent. “This is not about exploitation, this is about friends and partners who invest with and in each other”. He added that, an Africa-US relationship has a unique ability of leveraging the African Diaspora business as investor communities.
US Government Developing a Commercial Engagement
Mr. Don Graves, moreover, disclosed that the US Government is developing a commercial engagement plan for Africa known as Africa Commercial Engagement Strategy (ACES) to guide engagement between the US Government and African Private sector and governments.
“This will include spearheading two-way learning activities designed to educate the American business community about infrastructure development opportunities in Africa.”Mr. Don Graves
Mr Herbert Krapa, Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, also noted that AfCFTA provided a stimulus for industrial transformation as it addressed the challenges of small fragmented markets and added value to the continent’s abundant resources.
Mr Herbert Krapa indicated that the Government is undertaking an enterprise assessment of 180 companies to determine their needs and facilitation support for AfCFTA.
Meanwhile, the Customs Division of the Ghana Revenue Authority stated its preparedness to receive goods from State parties of the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).
With the Ministry of Trade and Industry declaring the Division as the Designated Competent Authority, it is mandated to issue certificate of origin for goods and verifying cross border trade.
Mr Yao Fechin Akoto, Assistant Commissioner in Charge of Rule of Origin and Tariff Schedule, also speaking as a panelist, noted the Division has put in place all the needed infrastructure to carry out its mandate under AfCFTA. “We have in place a setup responsible for AfCFTA activities and other free trade agreements that we are into.”
The Assistant Commissioner noted that training and sensitisation of officers and other stakeholders on the interpretation of the rules has been carried out to forestall any challenges with the implementation of rules on trade protocols.