Trade priorities January 2013? EU free trade agreements vs African regional trade

While the EU has kicked off its trade agenda for 2013 with an abundance of free-trade agreements, with EU-India and EU-Mercosur negotiations pushing towards conclusion, Africa must concentrate on removing barriers to intra-African trade to improve productivity and fight the rising global cost of food according to World Bank vice-president Makhtar Diop.

Cameron recently announced that an EU-US free trade agreement is one of his top priorities for the G8 Summit in June and meanwhile, talks are pushing towards conclusion for both an India-EU and an EU-Mercosur agreement.

These agreements will provide huge job creation and investment opportunities across India and South America, vastly improving the living standards of people in those regions (trade between India and EU was worth $110.26bn in 2011, while in 2010 EU members invested 385bn euros into Celac members, which represented just under half of all foreign investment into the area.

During the EU/Celac conference later this month, the EU will also begin negotiations on bilateral free trade agreements with Peru and Colombia. Will we have to wait until the creation of a Pan-African free trade area before we see that continent receive the same attention?

Africa, however, is concentrating on the need to improve intra-African trade which is vital in order to respond to rising global food costs and improve productivity. Poor productivity is partly due to fragmented regional good markets and unpredictable government policies, but is also a result of trade barriers and restrictions imposed by African countries.

Export bans, permits, licenses, costly documentary requirements, and difficult border crossings all constrict regional trade – the removal of these barriers would speed up the process and allow African countries to benefit from the opportunities that regional trade has to offer. The implementation of transparent customs procedures and standards would also prevent some of the appalling conditions faced by the small-scale traders who cross borders daily: in 2010 20% of traders crossing between DRC, Burundi, Uganda and Rwanda experienced long waits, while over 80% paid bribes to custom officials, 60% paid fines and more than 50% experienced violence or sexual abuse.

These are not restraints being imposed by the WTO. African countries must create the conditions to move goods easily across their borders in order to fulfil their potential and trade their way out of poverty.

See allafrica.com article on African regional trade

Summary

While the EU has kicked off its trade agenda for 2013 with an abundance of free-trade agreements, with EU-India and EU-Mercosur negotiations pushing towards conclusion, Africa must concentrate on removing barriers to intra-African trade to improve productivity and fight the rising global cost of food according to World Bank vice-president Makhtar Diop.

It's only fair to share...Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twitter
By | 2017-10-08T11:56:23+00:00 January 11th, 2013|Uncategorized|Comments Off on Trade priorities January 2013? EU free trade agreements vs African regional trade

About the Author: