Embassy of Ghana
Seoul, South Korea
Economics and Trade
ECONOMIC
Both Ghana and Korea are engaged in the liberalization of their economies under the ambit of the World Trade Organisation. Nonetheless, Ghana's economy is more open to the influx of foreign goods than Korea's, one factor that continues to impede the country's efforts to break into the Korean market. The structure of the two economies are also very different. While Ghana still largely depends on the export of primary commodities as well as grants and loans for the bulk of her foreign exchange resources, Korea exports value added goods in the form of high-tech products such as automobiles, shipping vessels, computer chips and various electronic goods. The fundamental differences in the structure of the economies of the two countries, also do affect the pattern of their trade and investment relations.
TRADE
Trade between the two countries in recent times continue to witness steady growth. Of late, many Ghanaian businessmen and women travel to Korea to conduct various businesses. Korea exports manufactured products to Ghana including refrigerators, computers, automobiles, electronic equipment and machinery, polypropylene, sodium, cement clingers and clothing. It also imports raw materials, including cocoa beans, manganese ores and concentrates, aluminium and copper waste and scraps and gold from Ghana. The volume of trade between Korea and Ghana is relatively small. The balance of trade is therefore in favour of Korea. The average annual volume of trade for a ten year period (2000-2009) export from Korea to Ghana totalled US$100,964,500 while exports from Ghana to Korea for the same period totalled US$10,885,300. This show a favourable average trade balance of US$90,079,200 to Korea.
The table hereunder sums up trading activity between the two countries over the past 10 years
(also see attached chart marked Appendix I):
Volume of Trade Between Ghana and Korea

Year

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Export to Ghana

53,901

89,769

42,256

70,559

75,339

88,811

94,225

145,770

194,936

154,079

Import from Ghana

3,726

4,748

10,035

10,779

6,991

6,909

15,406

17,801

15,881

16,577

Trade Balance

50,175

85,021

32,221

59,780

68,348

81,902

78,819

127,969

179,055

137,502

※ Source: Korea International Trade Association
A major constraint militating against the expansion of Ghana's trade is the small range of goods that can be exported and the inability to expand and sustain the supply base of these goods. There is no reason why Ghana cannot commence direct supply of cocoa which constitutes the main item exported to Korea. Further enquiries indicate that Lotte of Korea does not buy its cocoa beans directly from Ghana, but through an agent in Europe.
"Ghana Chocolate" has been a Korean delicacy produced by Lotte Confectionaries, a branch of a conglomerate, and has existed in South Korea for more than thirty years. It is explained that when Ghana was the largest leading producer of cocoa as well as producing the premium quality, its cocoa beans was the input for Korean chocolate hence gave rise to Ghana's name being put on the chocolate.
We are also aware that Korea imports a wide range of horticultural produce from other parts of the world, such as banana, pineapple, pawpaw, mango and various species of pepper suitable for making kimchi, a Korean staple. We should expand our production of these products and establish strict hygienic methods of cultivation, harvesting and preservation in order to overcome non-tariff barriers.
Ghana, therefore, has to diversify its exports. E.g. salt, textiles and palm oil can be exported as value-added goods. We must improve the competitiveness and marketing skills of the Ghanaian exporter through training and participating in international fairs and exhibitions. Ghanaian businessmen must produce catalogues either jointly or individually to exhibit their products. They should also be prepared to pay local experts for market research services so that they can adopt correct strategies for penetrating the Korean market. This may require adapting the taste of the product and packaging to suit the Korean market.
We have also to contend with measures such as health standards, high tariffs and stringent customs regulations by which industrialized countries protect their agricultural sector. To circumvent the protective barriers, the Mission has often encouraged Korean businessmen to set up businesses in the Free Zones of Ghana with the aim of producing and exporting back to Korea. It will greatly help if the Free Zones Board can produce site maps showing available land, and ensure that utilities like water, electricity as well as access roads are available. The investors also need market data on specific sectors of the economy, and even specific products, to convince them of the viability or profitability of particular projects. They need such information to present to their bankers before they can obtain loans for their projects

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