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Tuesday, 04 August 2015

Caribbean diplomat concerned about African EPAs with EU

Sir Ronald Sanders, a prominent diplomat from Antigua and Barbuda and former negotiator of the Caribbean Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU, warned 150 representatives from Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) of the risk that the EPA could be the start of a new era in which African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries are held captive by European companies. Nigeria has already expressed reservations about the agreement, mostly in relation to the implications foreseen for the country’s economy. Underlining the gross domestic product of the EU is US$18.526 trillion, Sir Sanders noted that “even if we compare the GDP of Africa’s largest country by population – Nigeria – with the EU, its GDP of US$521.8 billion amply shows the disadvantage that all African countries individually face in a reciprocal relationship with the EU (…) In economic terms, it is a case of a giant and dwarves or of sharks and sardines”. Sir Sanders pointed out that ACP regions sign the EPAs out of fear of higher tariffs when exporting to the EU rather than faith. He also made reference to the Continental Free Trade Area adding that this would be in jeopardy and be “retarded if not derailed by the differing EPAs between the EU and regions of Africa”. In order for the EPA to be beneficial, he highlighted the need for fair and just exchange taking into account different levels of development between the EU and ACP countries.

Source: caribbeannewsnow.com