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Monday, 03 January 2011

EPAs bound to stir unhealthy competition

Kenya Human Rights Commission has called on the government to discontinue Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) negotiations with the European Union arguing that if signed would deepen dependency on Europe.The commission further argues that a shift to reciprocity, places the bulk of the negotiation and implementation burden on African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, Kenya among them.Kenya together with other East African countries is negotiating with the European Union for Economic partnership agreement. The agreement seeks to promote sustained growth, increase production and supply capacity, support regional integration and diversify developing countries’ economies.KHRC says that Kenya and other East Africa Community - EAC members should focus on deepening Africa’s Regional Integration with Countries that are more agreeable to the continent’s development aspirations.Speaking after releasing a summary report on EPAs, KHRC Executive Director Muthoni Wanyeki urged EAC partner states should conduct a thorough human rights impact assessment of EPAs before making commitments.Wanyeki said the agreement could pose serious challenges in the processed and semi -processed goods in which the country has comparative advantage in the region.The commission says the agreement will increase competition that will work against Kenyan farmers leading to food security problems. However in a swift rejoinder the ministry of trade has defended the government move to engage in the negotiations saying agricultural and manufactured goods, are excluded from liberalization.The government says it is in the process of negotiating subsidies for farmers to increase Kenya’s competitiveness.

Source: bilaterals.org

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