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Thursday, 03 November 2011

Namibia will not sign 'bad' Economic Partnership Agreement

Namibia will not sign a 'bad' Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that limits its ability to solve domestic developmental agenda problems, the Deputy Minister of Finance, Calle Schlettwein has said.

Schlettwein said it will not serve any purpose to sign a bad EPA, since current provisions do not build developmental elements into the fabric of the agreement, but rather endeavor to do it in an add-on manner which is not helpful.

"The bad part of the EPA is that, as long as we export raw materials to the EU markets then they impose no tariffs, but the more we add value, the higher the tariffs. If we sign the EPA in its current form, we will be deprived of the opportunity to develop our own industries and to export finished goods to other large markets," he said.

In September, the European Commission adopted a proposal to amend market access regulation for countries that have not yet signed the EPA agreement. Namibia and other countries were given until January 2014 to sign or lose out on accessing the EU markets duty and quota free.

Source: AllAfrica/Namibia Economist