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EDITO
Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Vice-President Nickey Iyambo has stressed that the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) with the European Union (EU) should be interpreted carefully to benefit the citizens of the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States. Iyambo believes that if mishandled, the agreements may impoverish and bring more suffering to the affected countries. He made the remarks when he officiated at the opening ceremony of the 42nd ACP and 31st EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in the capital yesterday.

If the United Kingdom (UK) were to pull out of the European Union (EU), it would have repercussions in terms of its trade regimes with Africa and it would also have to redefine its position with its trade partners in SADC after so many years of negotiations, Dr Kaire Mbuende, the Namibian Ambassador to the EU, has said. The Britons vote on 23 June 2016 whether their country should remain within the EU or leave the organisation. Mbuende further said that in the last few years, Africa has been dealing primarily with the EU in terms of economic partnership and the UK was significant to that partnership.

Finance minister Calle Schlettwein has urged members of the European Union not to punish Namibia for doing business with other countries such as China. Schlettwein said this when he answered a question by a European parliamentarian as to whether Namibia ever considers bringing in experts to train youth to address the skills' shortage which is also a cause of the country's high unemployment rate, during the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly in Windhoek yesterday.

UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi participated in the 8th ACP Summit of Heads of State and Government, held in Port Moresby, from 30 May to 1 June 2016 and hosted by the Government of Papua New Guinea). The ACP Summit has been held every 5 years since the creation of the group in 1975. The 8th session was attended by all 75 Member States of the ACP Group at the level of Heads or Deputy Heads of State or Government, Foreign Affairs Ministers, Ambassadors, international and regional organizations, and special guests.

While the preferential treatment extended to European Union (EU) goods would witness an increase in imports from that economic bloc, given its larger production and productivity base, it may strain the competitiveness of domestic industries. Minister of Finance Calle Schlettwein feels the 'cumulation provisions' in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) nevertheless create interesting opportunities to develop regional value chains to support Namibia's industrialisation strategy and expand its export basket. Cumulation is a concept used in preferential trade agreements, which essentially widens the definition of originating products and helps manufactured goods meet the relevant rule of origin.