A new report has slammed the controversial Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) to be signed between the European Union (EU) and developing countries and called for its rejection.
The report, launched in Accra at the ongoing 12th United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD XII), said the EPA would open up ACP countries to “European pirates” and ultimately increase poverty in least developed countries (LDCs).
“We are not against trade but we are against the type of rules that the EU imposes on us and that is why we say ‘no’ to European pirates,” the report quoted Ms Norma Maldonado from the Central American-based International Gender and Trade Network (IGTN) as saying.
It was put together by the World Trade Movement (WTM) under the title “Raw Deal” .
The report noted that European businesses would benefit from the signing of a free trade deal and not developing countries.
The EU is seeking to open up the markets of developing countries for free trade through the EPA.
Critics say the fact that the EU provides heavy subsidies for its farmers and multinationals, something that developing countries were being asked not to do, makes the playing ground uneven.
Vicky Cann, Trade Policy Officer of WTM, said EU trade deals were unfair and hurt the poor, adding the evidence was that the EPA would benefit European multinationals and hinder rather than help the development of poor countries.
“In this time of rocketing world food prices, it is hard to believe that Europe seeks to open up developing countries’ markets to heavily subsidized European exports, putting farmers out of business and undermining food security,” she said.
Meanwhile other organizations, including UK-based international charity, Oxfam, have said that a better deal would be to include some amount of development content in the EPA for least developed countries and for the EU to open up its markets to them.