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General News
Farmers protest EPA agreements 9/28/2007
Thousands of peasant farmers, members of civil society organisations and the public on Thursday took to the streets of Accra in a Global Day of Action against the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), which is to be signed between the EU and ACP countries.

Amidst singing and dancing, the protesters holding placards with various inscriptions, some of which read “EPAs will Kill Development,” “We are signing our own death warrants,” marched on to the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

At the Ministry, the leaders presented some copies of posters that showed the legs of Ghana shackled by the chain of the International Financial Institutions while the EPA was strangling them on the neck.

The EU is seeking under the EPAs, a reciprocal trade regime between her and the ACP countries in place of the current non-reciprocal, quota free and duty free market access offered under the Cotonou Agreement.

In 1998, members of the Africa Caribbean Pacific group (ACP), signed the Cotonou Agreement with the European Union, which includes the negotiation of economic partnership agreements (EPAs) between the EU and the ACP.

The EU said despite over 30 years of free market access granted under the Cotonou Agreement the economies of ACP countries had not seen any appreciable improvements.

Secondly, that the current Cotonou agreement, which expires at the end of December, is incompatible with World Trade Organisation rules that demand equal treatment for all member countries.

Mr Ibrahim Akalbila, Coordinator of the Ghana Trade and Livelihoods Coalition, a nationwide advocacy organization striving for agriculture and trade justice, told the Ghana News Agency that the current level of destruction of livelihoods through unfair trade practices was enough reason why governments and for that matter West African Countries should not sign the Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union.

“EPA will worsen the plight of our poor farmers, who are already struggling to make a living in the face of unbridled trade liberalization,” he said.

In reply, the Deputy Minister of Trade Ms Shirley Ayorkor Botcway, told the farmers that the government would not do anything that would undermine the sovereignty of the nation.

Source: GNA

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