Namibia will have to pay more than half a billion dollars in duties if the country has not signed the economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) by January 2014.
The Namibian government is furious after a hush-hush decision by the European Union (EU) to close its duty- and quota-free markets to Namibian beef, fish and grapes by 2014 unless the country signs a controversial trade pact.
The European Unions’ trade commissioner, Karel De Gucht, will meet with Namibian President Hifikepunye Pohamba, key ministers, as well as the business and civil community in Windhoek today to try and inject new life into the drawn-out negotiations for an economic partnership agreement (EPA) between the two parties.
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) negotiations are ongoing while efforts are at an advanced stage to consolidate and harmonise market access arrangements for the Southern African Customs Union (SACU), reported Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Tjekero Tweya in Parliament last Thursday.
The position taken by Namibia with regard to the signing of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is commendable and should be a guiding principle for further negotiating trade agreements between Africa and the rest of the world.
Namibia has called on the European Union to “take a step backwards from the current excessive demands in the economic partnership agreement (EPA) negotiations to allow Africa the policy space which it requires to advance its development”.
The envisaged grand Free Trade Area (FTA), a grouping of COMESA, EAC and SADC will hold a decisive tripartite summit in January 2011 in South Africa as a major push for coalescence amongst the 26 countries gathers traction.
Even though the implementation of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) free trade area is yet to take place, there are notable areas of progress indicating that the activation of the free trade area is not far off.
The Namibian beef industry has come to terms with the fact that it has to look for alternatives, as there exist no concrete indications that the government will sign the controversial trade agreement with the EU.
As you may be well aware, Namibia has yet to sign the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU). It is gratifying to see the EU, in the face of Namibian insistence, eventually shifting and being prepared to further listen to Namibia, negotiating and thrashing out Namibia’s reservations about the contents of the IEPA.
Europe, which currently exports only about 10 percent of its products to Namibia, intends to expand the presence of its products in the country, amidst fears by authorities here that the deal would bear negatively on local products, while so-called infant industries could face extinction.
So impressed by Namibia are non-government organisations that they suggest mounting mass demonstrations in southern Africa and Brussels, the seat of the European Union Commission.
The European Union has asked Namibia to stop skating on thin ice and make up her mind whether to be in or out of the Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Southern Africa Development Community (SADC).
According to the European Union, countries that have signed the interim EPA are rightfully concerned that the EU is continuing to grant SA, Angola and Namibia the same privileges in terms of trade access even though they had not signed. “The situation is untenable," Jacques Wunenburger, head of the EU’s trade directorate, says.
The European Commission’s delegation in Namibia says it is “not confident” that the country would sign the full Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union, amidst a looming deadline and a possible loss of up to N$3 billion in export revenues.
President Hifikepunye Pohamba has likened the European Union’s trade negotiations with Namibia to the days of apartheid, saying the powerhouse is refusing to treat the country as an equal and listen to its concerns about the controversial economic partnership agreement (EPA).
The European Union, through its Spanish chair, has made an impassionate plea for Namibia to sign the interim Economic Partnership Agreement saying this will accelerate the country’s economic growth.
Germany this week urged Namibia to sign the contentious Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EPA) as the deadline for the controversial trade agreement draws closer.
The Namibian government has refused to sign its Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the EU, leaving grape exporters facing a serious loss of trade preferences or a considerable increase in costs.
Various participants in a talk in Namibia on the economic partnership agreement with the European Union yesterday saw red when Finance Permanent Secretary Calle Schlettwein dared suggesting that the veterinary fence in the North be gradually moved further North to offer those farmers the same market access as those south of the fence.