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Spotlight turns to EPA’s as Doha talks fail

SABC News, South Africa

Spotlight turns to EPA’s as Doha talks fail

1 August 2008

By Richard Newton

With the failure of the Doha development round trade talks fresh in everyone’s minds, the focus now shifts to the equally controversial Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA’s).

The EPA’s are an attempt to create a free trade area between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific countries (ACP). The EU says with no Doha deal, the EPA’s need to concluded as soon as possible.

The Doha deal promised much but in the end failed to deliver. The global stand-off between developing and developing countries ground to a halt in Geneva earlier this week after seven years of hard bargaining.

A return to the status quo in global trade is going to be harder on poor countries than on their wealthier counterparts. But as with Doha, developing countries are wary of opening up their markets to heavily subsidised developed countries, wary of the unavoidable job losses if they are unable to compete with cheaper imports.

There is talk of reviving Doha but that’s highly unlikely. A clear lesson from this is that the developing world does not believe that any deal is better than no deal at all.