The committee is made up of high-level Ghanaian government representatives drawn from the ministries of Finance, Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Trade and Industry and Business Development as well as the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC).Japan is also being represented by officials of the Japanese Embassy in Ghana, the Japan External Trade Organisation (JATRO), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japanese private sector participants.
The committee is co-chaired by the Chief Executive Officer of the GIPC, Mr Yofi Grant, and the Japanese Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Himeno Tsutomu.
It is scheduled to hold bi-annual meetings in Accra.
The committee, known as the Ghana-Japan Business Promotion Committee (GJBPC), will serve as a high-level partnership mechanism to facilitate mutual investment, trade and business interest between the two countries.
Additionally, it will serve as a vehicle to drive strategic economic partnership by promoting and supporting Japanese businesses in Ghana and Ghanaian businesses in Japan, promoting Ghana as an entry point into Africa and also as an investment hub to Japanese companies.
Furthermore, the committee will set up information sharing mechanisms on trade updates, laws and regulation policies, industrial standards and market trends to the benefit of both countries, organise trade and investment-related delegation to other countries, as well as assist visiting business delegations from Japan to identify and deliver solutions to challenges faced by Japanese companies or businesses in Ghana and Ghanaian companies or businesses in Japan.
Speaking on the sidelines of the inauguration, Mr Grant said Ghana was repositioning itself to be the most attractive business destination in Africa and a hub for investment, trade and industrial activities on the African continent.
To achieve these objectives, he said, measures had been put in place to ensure micro economic stability through physical consolidation and better prudent debt management and significant reforms in some major sectors.
Mr Grant said Ghana was a preferred destination because of its economic and political environment, such as its significant economic progress in the last two years, reduction in interest rates and two years of positive trade balance.
A Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Mr Charles Owiredu, expressed the hope that the close relationship between Ghana and Japan would grow stronger with more Japanese businesses coming to Ghana and more Ghanaian businesses taking up business opportunities in Japan.
“The Ghana mission in Tokyo is ready to facilitate and assist Japanese businesses to thrive in Ghana and use Ghana as an entry point to West Africa and eventually into Africa,” he stated.
Mr Tsutomu, for his part, urged the government to put in place measures that would create the necessary environment for "Japanese businesses and investors to feel welcomed and comfortable when they come to Ghana."
He said the embassy had identified a number of challenges being confronted by Japanese businesses and investors who wanted to do business in Ghana and had shared that information with the appropriate authorities.
Representatives of the Japanese private sector enumerated some of the challenges confronting their businesses in Ghana and requested the Ghanaian side to improve the business climate.
The two sides also took turns to explain the policies that were in place to encourage private business investment.
A document made available to the media listed some of the challenges encountered by Japanese businesses as tax issues, import and other levies, policy changes, high rent fees, violation of intellectual property rights and counterfeit of products, shortage of skilled workers and bad reception at government agencies, corruption and uncertainty in the legal system, among others.
To overcome these challenges, the Japanese side urged the government to strengthen the disclosure of information and improve communications, strengthen the microeconomic fundamentals, improve the investment climate, respect contracts, simplify tax payment procedures, simplify the application of visa processes and introduce measures that would ensure policy continuity in the event of a change of government.