Conservatives condemn Labour bid to block Ghana trade agreement.

01-Dec-2016 @ 16:15

Emma McClarkin Emma McClarkin

Emma McClarkin Emma McClarkin

Emma McClarkin Emma McClarkin

Conservatives condemn Labour bid to block Ghana trade agreement.

Conservative MEPs have backed a trade agreement which will boost economic growth in Ghana and protect jobs.

But they condemned an unsuccessful attempt by Labour MEPs to block the deal, accusing them putting ideological concerns ahead of the needs of Ghanaians.

The European Parliament today approved an interim Economic Partnership Agreement with Ghana which ensures the country continues to enjoy quota and duty-free access to the EU market until a wider deal, covering several West African states, can be concluded. Without the temporary agreement, this preferential market access would have been lost and serious disruption caused the Ghanaian economy.

Conservative International Trade joint spokesman Emma McClarkin said it was vital to support economic development in Ghana and condemned the stance of Labour MEPs who voted against the agreement.

She said: "Frankly, Labour MEPs need to look at themselves in the mirror.

"It is deeply regrettable that they decided to put their own narrow ideological concerns ahead of the welfare of 25 million Ghanaians. This despite the repeated requests of the Ghanaian Government and the Agreement being unanimously approved by the Parliament of Ghana in a cross party show of solidarity.

"In rejecting the Agreement, they would prefer that Ghana be forced to meet the EU's tariff wall rather than have duty free access, which would have had disastrous effects for the smallest farmers in Ghana, who rely on the European market for their livelihoods.

"Labour have claimed that they, not the elected representatives of the Ghanaian people know what is best for Ghana, an extraordinarily patronising position to adopt towards a Commonwealth partner and developing country."

In a letter to the Parliament's International Trade Committee, Ghana's Foreign Minister, Hanna Tetteh, had stressed the importance of the deal for her country.

She wrote: "It is the best option available at the present time to protect our exports to the EU and consequently companies in Ghana, both large, medium and small, who benefit from the opportunities provided by this market access.

"It allows for the continued growth and expansion of our non-traditional export sector and will protect jobs."

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