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Monday, 29 May 2017

EPA Trade Deal With Europe Is a Form of Colonialism, Says Magufuli

Tanzanian President John Magufuli Sunday described the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) as a "form of colonialism", dampening the country's possibility of signing the deal with the European Union (EU). "It is bad for our country," Dr Magufuli affirmed. Addressing a joint press conference with visiting Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni at the State House, Dr Magufuli disfavoured EPAs, which are aimed at creating a free trade area between EU and the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States. His Ugandan counterpart warned African countries that EPA might break up their unity. "It's better if the signing of the deal is shelved until further consultations are made."President Museveni arrived in Dar es Salaam Saturday morning for a two-day state visit. Dr Magufuli noted that after studying EPA he had realised that African countries would not benefit from it economically as its architects touted. He noted that terms included in the agreement were not intended to help African countries to grow economically. "I believe that our neighbour, Uganda, will second us for the betterment of our countries. We have discussed EPA for a long time but to me it seems like another form of colonialism... it is bad for our country," he said. There has been criticism in other quarters that the non-reciprocal and discriminating preferential trade agreements offered by EU are incompatible with World Trade Organisation rules. President Museveni noted that the fact that many African countries had not signed EPA shows that the proposal was meant to create disunity among African countries.President Magufuli's comments have come at a time when East African Community (EAC) countries are still negotiating the deal. Late last year, Tanzanian lawmakers rejected EPA when the agreement was sent to Parliament for debate. Mr Hussein Bashe (Nzega Urban-CCM) warned that EPA would kill EAC and that not all member states would enjoy the same benefits. "Some are going to earn a lot while others will see their productive sectors collapse." Mr Zitto Kabwe (Kigoma Urban-ACT Wazalendo) said: "We cannot allow the government to ratify the deal in its current form. It doesn't mean that we have closed the chapter or we do not care about the welfare of EAC; all that we want is to make sure that our national interests are protected."

Source: Allafrica