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Friday, 31 May 2013

Calls against the ratification of EPA with Cameroon

Citing concerns over development and integration in Central Africa, the Confederal Group of the European United Left/Nordic Green Left (GUE/NGL) – a small political group in the European Parliament (EP) voted on 28 May against the ratification of an interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Cameroon, due to take place during the next EP June plenary (10-13 June) in Strasbourg.
Cameron is the only country of the seven from the Central African region, which has signed an interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU. The interim EPA - signed in 2009 - encompasses duty and quota-free EU access for all goods from Cameron and a gradual removal of duties and quotas during the period 2010-2025 on up to 80% of EU exports to Cameroon. Besides trade in goods, the interim agreement also covers aid for trade, institutional issues, and dispute settlement. The beginning of the liberalization process started on 1 January 2010.
The political group claims that by signing the EPA with only one country of the region, the EU is “exerting pressure to get the other joining” and “is threatening regional integration efforts”. The 34 MEPs see this as a proof of lack of respect towards the spirit of “partnership that should exist between the EU and ACP countries".
The EU is currently in negotiations for an EPA with the other six Central African countries:  Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe.
The ACP countries that will not have not yet signed an EPA with the EU by 1 October 2014 will lose it preferential access to EU markets (provided that they do not fall within the “least developed countries” category, which are covered by the "Everything But Arms" regulation, under they can continue to export all products except arms duty-free into the EU).

Source: GUE/NGL; European Commission