Ghana’s cocoa products will soon enjoy zero tariffs on China’s market should everything go as planned.
This is according to Ghana’s Ambassador to China, Edward Boateng.
He made these comments after a launch of the Africa Cocoa Centre; a cocoa trading space which will connect Africa to China’s fast-growing appetite for chocolate and other cocoa products.
The trading centre will start by selling cocoa products mainly from Ghana before bringing in products from other African countries.
In a virtual interaction with stakeholders of the initiative, Edward Boateng disclosed that “opening this centre will help us to enter into the Chinese market. We are looking at how we partner the Chinese side to find new uses for our cocoa in this market other than just producing chocolate.”
He continued, “In the past, if a bean of cocoa could only produce one chocolate, with the new innovation we are looking at, a bean of cocoa should be able to produce a bar of chocolate, the infilling for dumplings, cocoa wine, cosmetics, etc. So through this innovation, we are hoping that we can generate more income through the cocoa. Because, if the cocoa industry worldwide is worth about US$150 billion, our share of that income is only US$2 billion and that is why the President tasked us that we should find alternative markets and uses for our cocoa.”
When questioned as to what the special plan is for new Ghanaian producers who will be entering China’s cocoa market, Mr. Boateng, stated that discussions will be had to prevent them from paying any tariff on the product.
“We are going to engage the Chinese central government about having a zero free tariff for our products coming onto this market. We buy some of these chocolates not because they are any better than the ones we are producing, but because of the brand, packaging and the way it is presented. We brought a lot of chocolate to China and for the first time, people tasted Ghanaian chocolate and they always tell you that this chocolate is delicious. This is because our chocolate is about 80 percent pure chocolate whereas a lot of the chocolates we buy have additives.”
He however complained that when local producers are given orders, “they are hardly able to meet deadlines because we don’t have the capacity with the exception of a few companies. And those few companies are overburdened. So the question is can’t we expand the scope of those already in the market? And those who who want to come in, what incentives can we give them?”
Ghana’s dream to enter the Asian market with its range of cocoa products started to become a reality when the Ghana-China Cocoa International Exchange (GCCIE) was unveiled in the historic Chinese city of Changsha in the Hunan Province in 2018.
The exchange, housed in a three-storey building, was an initiative of the two countries and was facilitated by Ghana’s Mission in China, under the supervision of the Ambassador, Edward Boateng.
It was to be stocked exclusively with a range of Ghana’s cocoa products, such as cocoa beans, semi-finished products such as cocoa liquor, cocoa butter, cocoa cake, as well as confectioneries.