The Swapo Party Youth League has come all out in support of Government’s refusal to sign the EPAs, claiming current negotiations with the European Union (EU) on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) are not beneficial to the country.
A number of Namibian civil society organisations, as well as the Namibia Chamber of Commerce and Industry, have supported the government’s decision not to sign the interim Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union, amid concerns that it caused discord among Southern African Customs Union member States.
Recent reports in the media with regards to Namibia’s so-called “reluctance” to sign the interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) have elevated the issue to a level that once again necessitates public debate on the merits of such a step.
Civil society is rallying behind Government in its decision to take on the European Commission, lobbying for support not to sign the interim economic partnership agreement until the EC puts agreed trade concessions on infant industry protection, food security, export taxes and free goods flow in writing.
Not only is the European Union (EU) uncomfortable with Namibia’s ambiguity on interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), but it is also concerned about the possibility of a legal challenge over Namibia’s access to duty-free quota free since last year.
The European Union has not agreed to include trade concessions made at the Swakopmund negotiations in the interim economic partnership agreement, but intends to look at the rules of origin provisions to prevent the breakup of the Southern African Customs Unions
The European Commission (EC) has lashed out at Namibia’s Trade and Industry Minister Hage Geingob, claiming he knew all along that they would not give written assurances on the concessions on infant industry protection, food security, export taxes and the free flow of goods agreed to in the interim economic partnership agreement (EPA) negotiations.
The Minister of Trade and Industry Dr Hage Geingob yesterday provided rare behind-the-scene reasons that have kept the protracted Economic Partnership Agreement between Namibia and the European Union from being concluded despite months of negotiations.
Now, Africans are hitting back at Europe
Namibia will sign an economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) when the outstanding contentious issues have been resolved through new wording in the texts of the interim EPA, says the country’s trade and industry minister Hage Geingob.
The European Union says it looks forward to concluding an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with Namibia and other countries in the SADC-EPA region.
THE Congress of South African Trade Unions has urged Namibia to follow South Africa and Angola’s footsteps in refusing to sign the much-debated Economic Partnership Agreement with the European Union, alleging that the purported agreement has a ‘hidden’ agenda.
Namibia is taking another bite at discussions on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union in the hope of reaching a favourable standing.
South Africa, Namibia and Angola have sent the European Union a letter — on an official South African letterhead and signed by the three countries’ ambassadors — reiterating concern about the interim economic partnership agreement and urging the EU to allow more time before the pact is signed.
Southern Africa is at a crossroads. While the rest of the world is heaving and buckling under the weight of the financial crisis, the subcontinent is battling to overcome centuries of colonial and other boundaries through adopting agreements about a free trade area.
The size of the domestic market has long been a thorn in the flesh for local businesses.
It should come as no surprise that Namibian Trade and Industry Minister Hage Geingob and European Union Ambassador Elizabeth Pape almost came to verbal blows this week.
It will be critical in the coming months to mobilise resistance to the implementation of the Interim EPA in its current format and thereby strengthen the Namibian Government’s hand not to sign a final EPA with the EU. Namibia should also link up with African and international campaigns against EPAs, which have emerged in the past few years. The battle is not lost but there is little time left to prevent EPAs from becoming a new and powerful tool to promote EU interests at the expense of Africa’s development needs. A new publication from the Labour Resource and Research Institute (LaRRI).
Namibia is ready to put behind the unpleasant treatment it received from European Union negotiators during last year’s marathon negotiations on Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), which resulted in the country’s refusal to sign until its protests were heard.
A top businessman and some economists in Namibia are optimistic that the proposed Southern African Development Community (SADC) Customs Union will break down trade barriers in the region and create competition that will benefit the ordinary consumer.