By Fred Yaw Sarpong
The Minister of Trade and Industry (MOTI), Haruna Iddrisu has announced that with effect from September 2nd, 2013 all imports of textiles will go through Kotoka International Airport (KIA), Takoradi and Tema ports.
Aside these ports, textiles coming into the country through other roots will be ceased and destroy.
The Minister in a statement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs) said, the TRIPs agreement mandates governments not to allow infringed goods to enter the channel of commerce and also not to allow the re-exportation of such goods.
He stated that “In pursuance of the TRIPs agreement, a number of countries in our sub region such as Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria have destroyed textiles together with the vehicles that were transporting them.”
However, Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) have been instructed that, with immediate effect, entreat imported African prints as high risk goods and shall be subjected to 100% physical examination to be jointly conducted by officers from GRA and GSA.
Under the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on TRIPs where goods infringe intellectual property, there is an obligation on the part of governments to take certain special boarder measures.
Article 51-60 of the TRIPS agreement enjoin all members of the WTO to take action to prevent the release by Custom Authority of the infringing goods.
Meanwhile, the Trade and Industry ministry has acted upon the directive of cabinet on curbing the menace of pirated African prints and textiles from the Ghanaian market by inaugurating the reconstituted task force on seizure and disposal of pirated Ghanaian textile designs and a vetting committee on the importation of African textile prints.
This re-constituted task force has been expanded to include other stakeholders such as the National Security Council, Ghana Union of Traders, GUTA and the Ghana National Chamber of Commerce and Industries, GNCCI, with the objective of curbing the menace of illegal importation of pirated Ghanaian textile prints and to ensure that importers who engage in these nefarious activities face the full rigors of the law.