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Be Wary of Economic Partnership Agreements - Hormeku

Ghana News Agency (GNA), Ghana

Be Wary of Economic Partnership Agreements - Hormeku

1st October 2012

Accra - Mr Tetteh Hormeku, Head of Programmes, Third World Network - Ghana, has urged African governments to be wary of the European Union’s agenda to perpetuate and deepen liberalization through the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

Speaking at a Public Lecture organized by the Economic Justice Network (EJN), Mr Hormeku said the EPAs were designed to keep African countries as perpetual suppliers of raw materials and to erode efforts at industrialization by the continent.

He spoke on the topic: "Trade Policy and Industrial Development - The Case of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs)."

It was the first in the series of public lectures with others expected to be held in Kumasi and Tamale.

The EU is seeking, under the EPAs reciprocal trade arrangements between it and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, to replace the non-reciprocal and preferential trade agreements it offered under the Cotonou Agreement.

Mr Hormeku said apart from threatening the food security and livelihoods of small-holder farmers, the EPAs would also thwart government’s ability to use procurement as a tool for social change.

Besides, it will also take away the policy space that is necessary for government to direct foreign investors to areas critical for national development.

He said, already, liberalization had led to uneven competition as the EU unwillingness to abolish agricultural subsidies had led to the demise of many African producers.

Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire had initialed interim EPAs with the EU.

Mr Hormeku said the EU demand for 80 percent tariff liberalization and the abolishing of export tariffs would impact negatively on local producers, consumers and government revenues.

The EJN was formed in 2005 in protest of what they described as continuing policies and experiences of economic injustice. It has been at the forefront of advocacy on economic policy issues affecting ordinary Ghanaians.