[DEBATE] : SA right to resist EU trade blackmail
Riaz K Tayob
riazt at iafrica.com
Thu Mar 6 16:10:55 GMT 2008
SA right to resist EU trade blackmail
Patrick Craven, COSATU National Spokesperson, 6 March 2008
COSATU has congratulated the South African government for taking a firm
line in the negotiations taking place in Botswana, with the European
Union (EU) over proposals for an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
EPAs are a move by the EU to divide and rule the countries of the
developing world. Against the background of the deadlock in the World
Trade organisation talks, the EU and USA are trying to negotiate EPAs in
order to buy off countries one-by-one.
Their aim is to further open up the markets of poor, developing
countries to goods and services from the developed world and thus extend
and legitimise the economic domination of the economic super-powers over
their former colonies.
The EU has already persuaded negotiators from Lesotho, Botswana,
Swaziland, Mozambique and Namibia to initial interim EPAs, though they
have not yet been signed by their governments. South Africa however has
refused to agree and Namibia is still wanting further talks. As a result
the future of the Southern African Customs Union is said to be in jeopardy.
We appeal to the SADC countries to put the interests of their poor
people first. If they accept the EU deal, they will be destroying for
ever any chance of developing their economies and ceasing to be
basket-cases at any time in the future.
COSATU agrees with the SA Government's refusal to back down in face of
the intransigent and patronising statements by EU Trade Commissioner,
Peter Mandelson - that there can be no renegotiations and that
timeframes cannot be changed.
Developing countries should not have to submit to such blackmail and we
encourage the government to stand firm and to continue its campaign with
other developing countries for a new World Trade Agreement that levels
the playing fields and prioritises the developmental strategies of the
poor countries of the world above the continued domination of the rich
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