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 Full text 
Wednesday, 30 November 2016 - Brussels Revised edition

EU-Ghana Stepping Stone Economic Partnership Agreement (debate)

  David Martin (S&D). – Madam President, while I of course acknowledge that the interim EPA does not fully meet my Group’s requirements for a free trade agreement – especially given the absence of a trade and sustainable development chapter – as we have just heard, we should remind ourselves that we are talking about Ghana: a vibrant, constitutional democracy, committed to implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, sadly almost an exception in Africa. Plus, this is only an interim EPA which will be applied until the regional one, ECOWAS, comes into force. This is an agreement that the Ghanaian Government and Parliament strongly want, as they believe it is good for their people. In fact, it was ratified unanimously by the 275 Ghanaian MPs, so who are we to say this is not good for them?

The current preferential trade regime MAR is not WTO-compatible and will cease to apply sooner or later. Ghana needs a more stable framework to attract and maintain foreign investment. Ghana does not want to keep the uncertain MAR preferences, does not want to apply for the less-favourable GSP+; they want this agreement, and we should respect their choice. I want to stand by the Ghanaian people, and therefore I will vote for this agreement.

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