Friday, November 23, 2007

Trade deal a game of high stakes: An Op-Ed by Yash Tandon

An opinion piece written by Yash Tandon, Executive Director, South Centre today appears in the Business Daily (Nairobi).

In the next few days, our leaders will decide whether to sign a new trade agreement with Europe. It will be a tough judgment call. The decision they make will weigh heavily on the course of our region’s development for decades to come. We have a long history with Europe in the light of which we must interpret current events. The proposed agreement by Europe will change the nature of our relationship from cooperation to one based on purely mercantile considerations. The EU and the ACP “partners” will be bound by the same rules. However, when unequal partners play by the same rules, the outcome is always in favour of the stronger side. With the proposal on the table it isn’t difficult to see who is likely to win. Analyses on the potential impact of the agreements prepared by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) show that the proposed opening up of 80 per cent of trade of the Eastern Africa Community (EAC) with Europe, will result in loss of tariff revenue of up to $130m per year.

Read the complete article at: