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Zambia to lose $15m if it maintains pact with EU

The Post (Lusaka)

July 1, 2005

Zambia to Lose $15m If It Maintains Pact With EU

Inonge Noyoo

Trade agreements and facilitations are vital for the development of the trade industry in any country, Minister of Commerce, Trade and Industry Dipak Patel has said.

And Patel has said Zambia stands to lose about US$15 million if it maintains its economic partnership agreement with the European Union (EU).

Patel said investment was currently low because foreign direct investment still remained low.

Speaking at the launch of the simplified Contonou Agreement Manual, Patel said the manual would help the government, private sector, civil society, media and national working group on trade understand the Contonou agreement.

He urged the government ministries to read the manual as he said it was important for the government to develop a negotiating position that was in the best interests of the country.

He called on the EU to simplify its conditions to make Zambia’s participation more feasible.

"I still have some serious reservations on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) in its current form as we are not in agreement on many issues," he said.

He said the idea of reciprocity as the EU envisaged it was not feasible for Zambia and many other countries.

"It would be most irresponsible of me on behalf of Zambia to engage in any reciprocal trade negotiations with the EU," Patel said.

Patel explained that the simulation showed that the EU trade gain would be US$42,106,782 and the revenue shortfall for Zambia would be US$15,844,184.

He said fair trade and trade justice were cardinal and deliverable and that the ministers of trade from Africa would remain united on this belief.

He said for 15 years poor countries had been promised fair trade and trade justice but up to now agreements, modalities and credible dates for implementation had not been concluded.

"Trade is good if it’s fair, but when you are pushed in the corner to say do this and we will pay for you to caution the impact, and the payment takes years, more damage would be done," Patel said.