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Malawi reconsiders controversial trade agreement EU

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Monday, 05 November 2012

Malawi reconsiders controversial trade agreement EU

Malawi has opened negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU), which have been stalled since 2002. The new round of negotiations could see the administration of President Joyce Banda sign the free trade agreement.
The EU has extended the deadline for the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, including Malawi, to negotiate the EPA from 2014 to 2016. Former President Bingu wa Mutharika, who died after a heart attack in April this year, had refused to sign the agreement, demanding that rural roads, health facilities and education are improved before signing an EPA .
Mutharika, a former UN trade expert, believed that an EPA would only strengthen Malawi's position as an exporter of agricultural products of low value, deprive the government of political power to use tariffs to protect livelihoods and develop the manufacturing sector. However, the new administration is examining all of the arguments that speak against the EPA and shifting the focus on what the country can gain from the agreement.

Source: Bilaterals.org