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EU Parliament report expresses concerns on the EU’s trade policy towards Africa

The recently published Report on the future of EU-Africa trade relations of the Committee on International Trade of the European Union (EU) Parliament accuses the EU’s trade policy towards Africa of being too fragmented, noting that Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) concluded or negotiated in the last decade have primarily served the EU interests and that the objectives of reducing poverty, diversifying value chains and promoting regional integration in Africa, basically, have not been achieved.

According to the EU Parliament, on the contrary, these Agreements have been detrimental to local production, especially in the agricultural sector, as most of African economies are today still dependent on the export of agricultural products and raw materials, and this is one of the reasons for the frequent criticism or even rejection of the EPAs in many African States.

The EU Parliament report also invites the EU Commission to refrain from imposing in the EPAs clauses prohibiting those economies which almost exclusively base their revenues on the exploitation of natural resources from levying export taxes on raw materials, insofar this it is compatible with the WTO rules. This restriction, notes the report, may lock these countries in aid dependency, hampering their economic diversification.

Under accusation is also the EU policy on use of pesticides, that the EU Parliament judges as “inconsistent”. A large range of pesticides that are currently produced in Africa and banned for import and use in the EU, are today produced in the EU and exported to African countries, as described in a report that was commissioned by the EU Parliament published in 2021.

 

 

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