ICC Collaborates with Ghana to Reform WTO and Empower Businesses

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ICC Collaborates with Ghana to Reform WTO and Empower Businesses

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ICC Collaborates with Ghana to Reform WTO and Empower Businesses

ICC Collaborates with Ghana to Reform WTO and Empower Businesses

The Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce Maria Fernandez Garza has paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Trade & Industry, K.T. Hammond as part of her official visit to Ghana and to thank him for his support of the maiden ICC African Sustainable Supply Chain Summit in 2023.

She said the importance of hosting a regional supply chain event in Ghana cannot be overstated, especially in the context of fostering sustainable economic growth across Africa. At the heart of ICC’s mission lies the commitment to socially responsible business practices that not only benefit the planet and its people but also support business growth

The Summit concluded with several key points. The International Chamber of Commerce was commended for its role in bringing together key players, governments, and development partners to co-create sustainable solutions for African supply chains. The Summit acknowledged the work of the ICC Centres of Entrepreneurship – especially the centres in Nairobi, Lagos, Casablanca, and Accra which are driving the next generation of entrepreneurs through innovation and cross-border trade.

UNDP was also praised for its commitment to supporting platforms that advance sustainable structural transformation in Africa to achieve the SDGs. The summit emphasized collaboration with the UNCTAD to address African trade needs and commended the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation for simplifying and reducing the cost of trade in Africa.

Additionally, the summit recognised the significant constraints posed by high trade costs and non-tariff barriers, highlighting the importance of their reduction. It also applauded Ghana for its successful public-private partnership in creating an efficient and paperless port system and DHL for its sustainability programs and entrepreneurial training. Google’s initiatives, including the Google for Startups Accelerator Africa Program and the Black Founders Fund, were also praised.

The summit acknowledged the threats posed by disruptions to supply chains and the importance of establishing supply chain networks to enhance food security and agricultural trade in Africa. It identified challenges related to globalisation, e-commerce, trade restrictions, and compliance in African trade and stressed the need for resilience and integrated supply chain solutions. Public-private sector collaboration was encouraged to improve transportation, digital connectivity, and energy access. The summit concluded by highlighting the importance of implementing AfCFTA protocols, addressing barriers to local manufacturing, and promoting intra-Africa trade, especially in agriculture and manufacturing, to boost economic growth in the region. It also emphasised the need for productive capacity and short sea shipping networks to facilitate trade and underscored the importance of trade credit insurance, legal frameworks, and capital support.

Finally, the summit called for collaboration with global partners, alignment with SDGs, and professionalism to build a more resilient and sustainable economic system in Africa.

The Honourable Minister called on ICC to help build the productive capacity of the continent for global supply chains through investment promotion, capacity building programmes and training for businesses and enterprises.

On the issue of dispute resolution, he called on ICC to establish an arbitration hearing centre in Ghana to compliment the work of the AfCFTA Secrtetariat. For businesses, arbitration and mediation are crucial because they provide a faster, cheaper, and more flexible way to resolve disputes.

In a nutshell, arbitration and mediation are like problem-solving superheroes for businesses, helping them keep the peace and move forward smoothly. ICC International Court of Arbitration is arguably the leading arbitral institution in the world and guards its independence but will still make a case for a hearing centre in Africa she said.

The two also discussed the outcome of the WTO’s 13th Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi and expectations of the 14th Ministerial Conference in Cameroon in 2026. The official proceedings from MC13 focused on agriculture, fisheries, dispute resolution, domestic services, and e-commerce, with mixed outcomes.

The business agenda, by contrast, was marked by an overwhelming consensus around the need to boost efforts to digitalise trade and trade finance, collaborate and drive inclusion in global trade.

ICC Chair Maria Fernandez Garza said that the largely disappointing outcome to this ministerial is not a failure of the WTO, it is rather a failure on the part of governments to make the common-sense compromises needed to get trade and welfare enhancing deals over the line. ICC is particularly concerned by the decision not to explicitly renew the WTO’s longstanding moratorium on the application of tariffs to cross-border data flows, we however welcome the protection it offers until the next ministerial.

It is important to keep the internet free of tariff barriers she said

While news headlines note the extension of the WTO E-Commerce Moratorium, there was a significant change in language from prior ministerial decisions. Last night’s decision includes an explicit sunset provision and removed any reference to further renewal. Whilst the worst possible outcome in the form of immediate termination was avoided, it represents a serious erosion of the membership’s commitment to the Moratorium and introduces a new and significant level of uncertainty. Some members may take this as a signal to start preparing new tariff systems for introduction in 2026, which will likely make the task of negotiating a new moratorium within the WTO even more difficult.

The Minister for Trade & Industry, Hon K.T. Hammond agreed to collaborate with ICC on WTO Reforms for a more constructive debate on the role of trade in society, both locally and globally.

The Chair of the world business organization congratulated Ghana on its implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. She said Trade facilitation plays a pivotal role in fostering economic growth and enabling smoother international trade.

The implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) aims to streamline customs procedures, reduce red tape, and enhance cooperation between border agencies, making it easier for businesses, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to engage in international trade. Customs procedures are simplified, documentation requirements are standardized, and border agencies cooperate more effectively, resulting in faster clearance of goods and smoother trade transactions. As a result, the business can benefit from reduced costs, improved predictability in supply chains, and increased competitiveness in international markets.

The Minister on his part stated that Ghana has just completed its Time Release Study and will work with ICC in addressing the findings of the study. He explained that work was ongoing on the Authorized Economic Operator.

The Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program is like a certification for companies that shows their processes are secure and that they meet customs regulations. This helps improve the efficiency of supply chain processes. For Ghana, being part of the AEO programme means that businesses involved in trade can enjoy benefits like faster customs clearance and reduced inspections.

This not only makes trade smoother but also boosts the country’s economy by attracting more businesses to trade with Ghana. Allowing businesses to trade more efficiently and securely with other countries. There are already more than 70,000 businesses registered globally in more than 91 countries

Both agreed that Fees and charges can significantly impact the cost-effectiveness of international trade transactions and ultimately affect the competitiveness of businesses, especially SMEs.

Therefore, it’s essential to emphasize the need for transparent and reasonable fee structures, as excessive fees and charges can hinder market access, disrupt supply chains, and impede economic growth.

It is urgent that governments and organizations engage in dialogues aimed at standardizing and rationalizing fees and charges, ensuring they reflect the actual costs involved in trade facilitation rather than imposing arbitrary burdens on businesses.

The adoption of best practices and the use of digital platforms for fee management and payment processes can streamline trade operations and reduce administrative burdens for businesses engaged in international trade.

Ultimately, addressing fees and charges in international trading is essential for fostering a more conducive and equitable global trade environment that benefits businesses of all sizes.

The Secretary General of ICC Ghana, Emmanuel Doni-Kwame called for closer collaboration between Ghana and Mexico (where ICC Chair comes from) in the Car manufacturing and assembly sector since Mexico as a leading exporter of auto parts has a lot of experience in the auto industry.

The CEO of GEPA Asabea Asare who was present called for collaboration with ICC in the development of training programmes for the GEPA Export School such as Incoterms.

Source: Thebftonline

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