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Thursday, 14 April 2011

Guduza: Swaziland, Lesotho signed EPA under duress

Speaker in the House of Assembly Prince Guduza says Swaziland and Lesotho signed the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) under duress. He said both countries signed the agreement because they had certain export quotas to the EU. He noted that the EPA sowed a seed of confusion in the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). “SADC signed trade protocols for its members, which are binding. The parliamentary conference on trade and EPA which was held in Botswana in the previous weeks came up with numerous recommendations regarding trade in the region. One being that governments in the SADC region must involve civic society and parliamentarians in EPA negotiations,” he said. The Speaker said the advent of EPAs did not allow membership to more than one trade group. He said they realised that within SADC there were members of the Southern Africa Customs Union (SACU) as well as the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA). He said as much as the countries were trying hard to address the EPAs, the SADC region was still disintegrated. He noted that Swaziland and Lesotho were subject to fail in the implementation of the EPAs as there was no way they would transport goods since South Africa did not allow such as it was subjected to SACU rules. The Speaker said the signing of the EPA was no longer in the SADC protocol. He said the EPA would be unworkable as it was anti the economic regional agenda signed through the SADC trade protocol.

Source: The Swazi Observer