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Friday, 02 December 2011

ECOWAS ministers hold crucial talks over trade with EU

West Africa's ministers responsible for coordinating negotiations for the creation of a regional free trade area with the European Union held crucial talks in Accra, Ghana, on the way forward in the negotiations following disagreements over some issues.

The negotiations, launched in 2004 with the adoption of a road map, were intended to produce a successor agreement to various Conventions that had guided trade relations between the two regions which would be compliant with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules. […]

Regional leaders have insisted on a credible source of funding the programme in fresh funds from the EU which argues instead that the programme be funded from existing funds under the European Development Fund (EDF) and other sources. The disagreements also relate to the schedule of opening of West Africa's markets to products from the EU which is insisting on an 80-per cent market access over 12 to 15 years while West Africa is offering 70 per cent of its market to be liberalized over 25 years. The region is worried that its burgeoning industries could be destroyed by a deluge of goods from the EU with its agricultural sector becoming a victim to subsidized products from the EU.

Source: AllAfrica/Daily Trust