Dar told to campaign against EAC signing of EPA

TANZANIA has been advised to use its political influence to convince other members of the East African Community (EAC) to delay the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) pending clearance of some outstanding issues.

The outstanding issues, which might compel the EAC member states to remain spectators rather than trade partners, include the raw materials for which the EAC member states and EU industries compete, which is detrimental to domestic industries and agriculture as well as lack of restrictive policy to protect local interests.

Prof Helmut Asche an economist and a researcher from the German based Johannes Guternberg University issued the advice in Dar es Salaam yesterday during media briefing on what he referred to as lack of win-win situation in the EPA deal.

He said the EAC member states need to renegotiate before signing and ratifying the pact.

“Tanzania must spearhead the EAC member states to reassess the proposed EPA agreement to protect their interest, its objections of signing the pending draft are very justifiable as the country eyes for industrial economy,” he said.

He said that entering into unfair pact would trigger other developed economic blocks to come out with similar unbalanced drafts, which may worsen the situation even further by affecting local industries, exporting raw materials and remaining importers of foreign processed goods.

“After EAC member states sign the EPA, the next morning China, the Americans, Arabs and Asians who are keenly watching will come with similar single sided proposals,” he noted.

On Kenya and Rwanda which have already inked the pact, Prof Asche insisted that Kenya has graduated into middle economy capable of benefiting from the EU market. However, he said it is not health for the two countries to move alone.

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