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Tuesday, 08 May 2012

Sympathy exists within the EU for African concerns

Continuing with his weekly outspoken criticisms of the EPAs, the former president of Tanzania, Benjamin William Mkapa, warns of the prospective effects of the agreements on African regional integration, stating that these "will displace intra-regional trade". On a more positive note, however, he emphasizes that there exists a  certain sympathy within the EU for Africa’s concerns, as the European Parliament committees on Development (DEVE) and International Trade (INTA) recently drafted proposals rejecting the proposal for the amendment of Regulation 1528/2007, which provides duty-free and quota-free market access to the EU market.
The DEVE committee stated, in a draft proposal in April of 2012, “that the conclusion of the negotiations should be driven by content, which must take into account the interests and address the concerns of both parties”.  Thus, and finding "unacceptable provisions¨ in the agreements, the DEVE committee agreed that Regulation 1528/2007 should be maintained. Similarly, 2 weeks after the DEVE position was announced, the INTA committee suggested an extension of the deadline for the EU’s proposed amendment from January 1, 2014 to 2016, arguing that "bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations are complex in nature and very often cannot be concluded in rigidly set timeframes".
Underlining a number of other weaknesses of the EPAs, Mr. Mkapa notes that the EU will greatly benefit from African development and prosperity. "We trust therefore that the EU will heed ACP countries’ and Africa’s proposals for a mutually-beneficial partnership ahead", he concludes.

Source: Daily Mail