Check unfair trade practices against local companies – GITC

Executive Secretary-GITC, Frank Agyekum

The Executive Secretary-Ghana International Trade Commission (GITC), Mr. Frank Agyekum, has emphasised the significance of his outfit’s work in safeguarding Ghanaian companies from unfair trade practices on the international stage.

According to him, international trade is akin to war – and all manner of tactics are deployed to undercut competition in the global arena.

One of such common unfair trading practices, he said, is dumping; whereby the price of a product sold in the importing country, in this case Ghana, is less than the price of that product in the originating country’s market.

Mr. Agyemang said this price discrimination strategy is done deliberately to offset competition from local industry, with the ultimate goal of monopolising the local market.

“For instance a product at the country of origin sells at US$100, but despite freight charges and taxes it still sells at US$80 in the importing country. The purpose is to dump onto the market in the receiving country, make sure our industries are disabled, and then eventually those companies from the originating country can monopolise their product in the host country. When that happens, the local companies are unable to make profits and expand as they want to – because market share is reduced or taken over by the foreign entities. When local industries cannot expand, they lay-off workers and are unable to pay the requisite taxes to help develop the nation.”

He said the GITC, Ghana’s trade remedy institution, has since its inception four years ago been correcting some of these practices going against the local economy.

Mr. Agyekum revealed that the GITC has over recent years worked on six cases of dumping, with the ruling in favour of Aluworks – the local manufacturer of aluminium products in Ghana, prominent among them.

According to him, the Aluworks case led to an anti-dumping duty imposed on the foreign perpetrators.

He expressed that it is the wish of GITC to close several other petitions in favour of Ghanaians, but Ghanaian companies often lack the requisite data to back their claims.

He urged that such companies should endeavour to collect and keep data in their business dealings, thus enabling GITC to mediate for them effectively.

He said all the developed countries Ghana and its African counterparts seek to emulate take such contingency measures to promote local industry very seriously, and African countries must pay equal attention to what happens on their turf.

Mr. Agyekum lamented that, sadly, only four other countries in Africa have set up institutions like the GITC to serve the purpose of checking these unfair trade practices.

“I believe there should be more countries, because we compete with countries who know what they are about and do everything to ensure that they get what they want. We have to put measures in place to ensure that we match them boot for boot. If not, we will always be found wanting.”

The Executive Secretary of the Ghana International Trade Commission said it has become more imperative for Ghana and its counterparts on the continent to create such structures in the Free Trade Area era.

“If we are not careful about these things, others more advanced than us in terms of production capacity will come in and swarm the market; and we will end hosting the secretariat and yet not getting the right benefits from AfCFTA,” he articulated.


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