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Thursday, 31 May 2012

[Re]Calls for 'development friendly' trade agreements

Renewed calls for flexibility on trade negotiations between the ACP members and the EU (EU) have echoed from the 23rd session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly (JPA) in Horsens, Denmark. The President of the ACP members, Hon. Musikari Kombo (Kenya), has demanded a withdrawal of the EU proposal to amend market access laws, which would set a deadline for finalising Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) for ACP countries, or else lose duty- and quota-free access to EU markets.
ACP Secretary General Dr Mohamed Ibn Chambas appealed for an approach based on “partnership”, with coherence between trade policies and development goals. .“We will continue with the negotiations with a view of concluding EPAs that will be development-friendly – that is, EPAs which address our supply side constraints, development constraints and infrastructure constraints which do not enable us to produce and take advantage of the big European market,” said Dr Chambas.
He added that to strengthen developing economies, EPAs should promote regional integration efforts: “[Countries] should not sign agreements which then dismember a region, creating different regimes with different countries in a common region”.
Should steps not be taken to ratify EPAs by January 1st, 2014, 18 lower-middle income ACP members would have to start paying higher or full duties on their imports to Europe. But these states are adamant that they are only willing to adopt the EPAs once “contentious” issues are resolved between the two groups.

Source: ACP/CTA