Civil society push for trade justice

Daily Monitor, November 19, 2008

Lack of research, competent negotiating team and slowdown in Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) activities, will not give the East African region states a better deal in the ongoing regional and multilateral trade negotiations, trade policy analysts have stated.

Citing the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) negotiations, CSOs from the East African Community (EAC) states, contend that European Union (EU) countries are being forced to give so much concession by reducing their tariffs in anticipation of preferential market access while the EU’s preferential market access is constantly being eroded.

“We are concerned that more important non-tariff barriers like rules of origin, stringent and sanitary rules that have impeded access of our products into EU markets are not seriously being tackled,” the CSOs said in a joint communiqué released during a three-day conference that ended on October 13 in Entebbe.

The EAC Regional Conference on Trade and development was organised by African Centre for Trade and Development (ACTADE) in collaboration with Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) Nairobi, MS Uganda and DENIVA.

The purpose of the conference was to create a platform for policy makers, CSOs and small producers to exchange views and recommend measures on trade and development in the EAC. “The EU subsidy to their farmers makes it impossible for African farmers to compete on the world market. It is the EAC politicians’ job to negotiate deals, which are to the benefit of particularly small scale farmers and producers,” said ACTADE’s Executive Director, Elly Twineyo.

This news item can also be viewed at: