Input By Trade Associations -Export & Import Restrictions Bill 2023.


Input By Trade Associations -Export & Import Restrictions Bill 2023.

The government is set to reintroduce the Export and Import (Restrictions on Importation of Selected Strategic Products) Regulations 2023 after they were withdrawn during the last session of Parliament.

Since December, the Ministry of Trade and Industry has been gathering public feedback on the Bill; the consultation period will conclude on January 31st (last Wednesday).

Below is our collective input as trade associations to the Bill.

Trade associations who have confirmed are:

  • American Chamber of Commerce in Ghana
  • The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of France in Ghana
  • Ghana Netherlands Business and Culture Council
  • European Chamber of Commerce in Ghana
  • Ghana South Africa Business Chamber
  • Spain-Ghana Chamber of Commerce

As reputable trade associations in Ghana representing the interest of businesses in the manufacturing in import sectors, we appreciate the opportunity to submit comments on the proposed LI “Export and Import (Restrictions on Importation of Selected Strategic Products) Regulations, 2023.  We commend the Ministry of Industry and Trade for undertaking a public consultation on this proposed draft regulation, and would like to present the following comments for the Government’s consideration:

  1. Scope of the proposed measure.  The list of 24 proposed goods minimizes the actual scope of what could be covered by the measure.  Entire chapters of the Harmonized Tariff Code could be covered by categories such as clothing and apparel, iron and steel, motor vehicles (which may even extend to parts), plastics, etc.  The measure could easily cover hundreds if not thousands of specific goods and tariff lines. 
  2. The workability of administering a permitting process including forecasting domestic supply and demand for such a wide list of goods seems very challenging.
  3. We are concerned that at a fundamental level, the government would be choosing who gets to be importers into the country, and that there are distortions to competition that flow from that break from international trade norms.  Further, the measure does not take into account some practical aspects of international trade and how businesses plan their operations.  Suppliers assess and choose who they think is qualified to serve as an authorized distributor or representative in a foreign market.  A committee in Ghana selecting and limiting the importers through a permitting process would distort this natural and competitive aspect of international business. 
  4. As manufacturers and processors, we use many of the products on the list as intermediary inputs into our production within Ghana.  We have all come to appreciate the importance of supply chains during the pandemic and how critical they are to our business competitiveness and resilience.  We are concerned that this measure would disrupt individual companies and industries’ supply chains for inputs.  There is simply not enough domestic supply or supply at a consistent quality level to satisfy the level of needed inputs for the production of some goods and services in Ghana.

Without a clear sense of whether we will have a consistent supply of a specialized plastic, or oil, poultry, metal, sugar, or another input into production or packaging, we will not be able to plan and invest in a timely manner.  Trying to anticipate possible quota levels, whether we would obtain a permit or not, and whether a permit would be renewed or not creates additional static for business planning in an already challenging macroeconomic environment.

  1. Companies that are franchisees have contractual obligations with franchisors about the use of inputs that meet certain quality standards.  By restricting supply to those individuals/companies that the committee chooses to provide a permit for, local franchisees who employ thousands of Ghanaians could be forced to take supplies that they cannot even use, which can result in not meeting quality standards and closure of aspects of their operations.  
  2. Our companies operate in multiple international markets and have had an opportunity to observe some specific unintended and far-ranging consequences from policies that have been attempted in other countries.

The World Bank outlined a number of consequences that flowed from measures that Nigeria took to limit imports and to regulate FOREX there. Specifically, it cited:

a) the creation of parallel markets for currency;

b) increased inflation for the products covered themselves and increased production costs that cascaded down to industries that were not even ones targeted for protection in the measure;

c) trade evasion or smuggling - the WB estimates that there was an 18% increase in smuggling as a result of the measures. And finally,

d) revenue losses from reduced trade.See: World Bank Document (Turning the corner: From reforms & renewed hope, to results). 

We observed the specific example of a measures imposed on sugar in Côte d’Ivoire that resulted in distortions to the competition on the market.  Licensees often took on a monopoly or semi-monopoly role, and raised prices or reduced supply, especially to competitors for sales of the products itself as well as competitors who manufactured goods using sugar as an input.   

  1. We would like to note Ghana has other tools to deal with legitimate trade concerns and there already exist multiple measures, policies, and taxes on some of the same products on the list.  Used clothing has been subject to a major tariff increase.  Used autos are subject to various policies, including a special valuation regime and proposed inspection regime.  Industry has worked with the Government regarding a range of sugar policies and taxes.  Poultry is already subject to import permitting.  Some plastics are to special taxes.  
  2. As companies that seek to help realize Ghana’s goal of expanding its regional trade within Africa -- especially in the context of its leadership role as host of the AfCFTA Secretariat -- we are concerned about the demonstration effect of such a measure on neighboring or other African countries who may try to copy such a measure.  That, in turn, would limit Ghana’s own international trade opportunities and the goals of developing regional value-added chains in agro-processing, automotive, and other sectors of priority to Ghana.  

In short, we are local employers with a demonstrated commitment to producing in Ghana and sourcing locally for our production within Ghana where we can.  A permitting committee that directs who can import and to what extent is not a measure that we would seek as a means to increase our competitiveness.  On the contrary, we can see scenarios where the resulting higher prices of production and distortions to competition could create a more challenging environment as a result. 

For any comments please liaise with Tjalling at


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