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Friday, 25 July 2014

Cameroonian parliament authorises president to ratify EPA with EU

The Cameroonian State did not wait until the October 2014 deadline to ratify the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) signed in 2009 with the EU, which aims to gradually remove (over a period of 15 years) the customs barriers between the two entities in order to create a free-trade zone.
On July 9, 2014, the Cameroonian parliament adopted the bill pushed by the Minister of Economy authorising the Head of State to ratify the EPA concluded in 2009 between the State of Cameroon and the European Union. The text was submitted to members of parliament on July 8, 2014 for examination, “two days before the close of the parliamentary session” for the month of June, leaving the national representatives little time to debate such a sensitive issue,” complained the Citizens’ Association for the Defence of Collective Interests (ACDIC) in a release.
The ACDIC’s fears proved to be founded in light of the information gleaned here and there on the holding of the full session for the adoption of the bill on July 9, 2014 in the Cameroonian National Assembly. According to the governmental daily, at the opening of the session, the National Assembly’s Chairman, Cavaye Yéguié Djibril, took care to inform his fellow representatives that he would apply the provisions of the Article 39 of the internal regulations of the Chamber if there are many speakers.
Indeed, the internal rules of the National Assembly aim simply to shorten the debates, since they givee the Chairman of the House to extend the speaking time for each representative from 10 to 30 minutes in total per parliamentary group. It was by way of this abridged debate that the bill presented by the government was adopted by the Cameroonian parliament, thus consecrating Cameroon’s procession towards the EPAs, to the detriment of a regional approach in the CEMAC zone that was still confident a few months before.
Cameroonian civil society, members of the political opposition, leading experts and members of the business community opposed the signing of the EPAs from the start of negotiations accusing the European Union of wanting to reduce the ACP countries to mere trading posts whose fledgling industries will be destroyed with the signing of the EPAs. The opening-up of borders outlined in these agreements, at the industrial level, is comparable to an outrageously uneven match between “a boxer who is free to move about and another who has his hands tied,” to quote the remark made by Protais Ayangma, president of ECAM, a business leader organisation in Cameroon.


Source: businessincameroon.com

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