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Joint Zambian Civil Society Statement on Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) December 31, 2007 Deadline

20 December 2007

SARPN acknowledges Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) as a source of this document: www.jctr.org.zm
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Preamble

  1. With only 10 days before the official World Trade Organisation (WTO) deadline for negotiating a free trade area, called Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between Europe and countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, Civil Society Organisations in Zambia take this opportunity to;
    1. Take stock of the recent developments in the negotiations
    2. Express our concerns on the nature and content of the negotiations so far and
    3. Project our focus into the future with recommendations to our Government and the European Union.
Recent developments in the EPA negotiations

  1. In the last 90 days, the EU finally accepted the need for more time to comprehensively conclude the negotiations in all areas. In this regard, the European Commission (EC) unilaterally devised Framework Economic Partnership Agreements which take into account trade in goods for agriculture, manufactured, fisheries products and others.


  2. Framework Agreements are "Interim" Agreements to ensure that there is no trade disruption after the December 31, 2007 deadline and they have inbuilt provisions to continue negotiations for a comprehensive EPA to be ready by December 2008 and July 2009 in some cases. Interim Agreements can also be acceded to and accessed by sub regional groups or individual countries thereby making them bilateral trade agreements.


  3. According to an update from the European Commission, only 19 countries out of the 77 ACP countries had initialed the Interim Agreement by December 12, 2007. A number of countries including Nigeria, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Sudan, South Africa, Angola, Senegal and many others in Africa, and the other two regions (Caribbean and Pacific) have not initialed the agreement.


  4. Zambia initialed the agreement on December 5, 2007 alongside Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe from the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) configuration. Zambia however, has not made any obligations on trade particularly relating to the level of liberalization which the EU has continued to insist that it should be 80 %. Zambia has a sensitive list of 24.2 % which implies that the desired level of liberalization for Zambia is less than 80 %. Zambia has also not nodded the transition period which the EC has reduced to 15 years with a 5 year moratorium opposed to a 25 year period with a 10 years moratorium that Zambia has always desired. This caution exercised by the Zambian negotiators is commendable.


  5. Zambia has acceded to the agreement on account of increased prospects of sugar exports, maintenance of the current rules of origin which are less stringent than the alternative Everything But Arms and the possibility of accessing some 2 billion Euros meant for EPA related funding for ACP countries.




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