The UK has signed a new trade agreement with Ghana, rolling over preferential terms it had with the west African country when it was a member of the EU.
Trade minister Liz Truss and Ghana’s Acting High Commissioner to the UK, Peprah Ampratwum, signed the deal yesterday (2 March).
Worth £1.2bn, it secures tariff-free trade for Ghanaian products such as bananas, tinned tuna and cocoa, and provides a platform for economic and cultural cooperation, the government said in a satement.
UK exports of machinery, electronics and chemical products will benefit from lower tariffs from 2023.
Truss said the deal provides certainty for businesses, jobs and livelihoods in Ghana, while strengthening ties between the two countries.
“We can now look forward to deepening and furthering our relationship in future, and working together to secure a broader agreement with the West Africa Region,” she added.
The Ghana deal comes on the heels of a UK trade deal with Kenya that could yet be extended to five other East African Community countries.
The deals underline the UK’s commitment to deepening trade links with Africa as part of its ‘Global Britain’ trade policy.
‘Partner of choice’
The UK managed to roll over EU trade terms with 15 African countries ahead of the end of last year’s transition period, accounting for £21.4 billion ($29.2 billion) of annual trade.
Prime minister Boris Johnson recently stated an ambition “for the UK to be Africa’s investment partner of choice”.
Africa is a growing market for the UK, particularly following the continent’s creation of its own free trade area through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement.
The agreement could create a far more integrated market between 54 countries with a population of 1.2 billion and a gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.5 trillion.
The Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) estimates that AfCFTA has the potential to boost intra-African trade by 52.3% by removing import duties and reducing non-tariff barriers.
New Zealand or Australia next?
According to the UK government, the UK has now secured trade agreements with 65 non-EU countries, representing trade worth £217 billion in 2019.
According to the Express, the agreement with Ghana comes ahead of anticipated pacts with Australia and New Zealand.
“There is now a race between Australia and New Zealand,” a senior Department of International Trade official said.