Thursday, February 19, 2009

AU lays groundwork for fair trade deal with EU

Written by Allan Odhiambo

February 6, 2009: The leadership of the African Union has urged for stronger participation of regional economic communities (RECs) in the ongoing negotiation for trade pacts with Europe to guard against warped deals that may harm their developing economies.

“The Assembly has requested the AU Commission to ensure the effective involvement of the RECs and other stakeholders in the implementation and monitoring processes,” African Heads of State said in a resolution at the just ended 12th ordinary summit in Addis Ababa.

And in a bid to enforce this decision the assembly further requested the commission to submit a special report to each session of the executive council on the progress made in the implementation of the partnership with the European Union.

Kenya and other States under the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) are currently engaged in crucial discussions with the EU on new economic partnership agreements (EPAs).

For more than two decades, trade relations between ACP countries and the EU had been based on non-reciprocal trade preferences which granted nearly all products originating from the ACP countries duty free access to the European market.