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Economic Partnership Agreements
Masimba Nyamanhindi, Students Solidarity Trust
January 23, 2007
It has been
three years since members of the African Trade Netwwork (ATN) launched
their opposition to the Economic Partnership agreements. Since then,
several hundred civil society organisations across Africa, the Carribean,
the Pacific and Europe have been pursuing a campaign to STOP the
EPAs, as currrently being negotiated between the European Union
and ACP groupings of countries.
about domination, it is about exploitation, all in the name of partnership",
held Malcom Damon, from the Economic Justice Network in South Africa,
in a meeting convened by the Africa Trade Network at the on-going
EPAs, in its
current form will expand Europe's access to ACP markets for its
goods, services, and investements; expose ACP producers to unfair
European competition in domestic and regional markets, and increase
the domination and concetration of European firms, goods and services.
This will lead
to deeper unemployment, loss of livelihoods, food insecurity and
social and gender inequity and inequality as well as undermine human
and social rights. EPAs will also endanger the on-going but fragile
processes of regional integration among the ACP countries; and deepen
-as well prolong the socio-economic decline and political fragility
that characterises most ACP countries.
Trade Agreements grants the European countries free access to African
markets as stipulated in the Singapore issues, whereupon the EU
has a mandate to negotiate all the issues arising effectively demeaning
the livelihoods of millions in the ACP region.
Union wants to negotiate investment agreement which gives them access
to African markets, and to that extent, ACP countries do not want
to negotiate, and are refusing the Singapore issues totally.
Bibione Mbaye, of ENDA from Senegal, the European Union wants to
get free competition and impose the European model in addition to
having access to government procurement markets.
from SEATINI (Uganda) also revealed that the aspect of 'market access'
is a carrot that is being dangled in the EPAs, by proffering illusionary
Yet Africa has
to open up its markets by reducing tariffs. "In East and Southern
Africa, we are reducing tariffs on raw materials because the EU
is subdising their products, production is affected and you cannot
add value", held Jane Nkuunga.
Uganda is one
country that has been given access to EU markets. But because of
supply capacity constraints, Uganda cannot access the EU markets
because of the high standards that obtain in the trade arrangements.
It has however
emerged from the meeting that the European Commission of French
National Assembly, in a report that makes an analysis EPAs on ACP
countries has resolved to take away the negotiating power of the
EU and empower ACP countries
emerged from the discussion are that the peoples of ACP countries
demand and overhaul and review of the EU's neo-liberal external
trade policy, particularly with respect to developing countries,
and demand that EU-ACP trade cooperation should be founded on approach
is based on a principle of no-reciprocity, protects ACP producers
domestic and regional markets, reverses the pressure for trade and
investement liberalisation and allows the necessary policy space
and supports ACP countries to pursue their own development.
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