A study of the impact on SADC countries is published
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CTA. 2003. A study of the impact on SADC countries is published. Agritrade, June 2003. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/52456
A study of the likely impact of EPAs on SADC countries has been published by...
A study of the likely impact of EPAs on SADC countries has been published by the TRADES Centre in Harare. This summary of it begins with the assertion that rejection of EPAs is no longer an option, since this 'risks losing EU aid, preferential market access and the imports protocols'. In this context the main issues are seen as being the extent of 'adjustment costs, supply constraints, revenue losses, trade creation and diversion' that will occur. The study shows high adjustment costs and significant government revenue losses which will force SADC governments 'to make changes to their fiscal systems'. Governments will also need to make large investments in order to equip industries to meet increased competition. Maintaining that EPAS will bring 'several advantages, among then maintenance of the current economic and trade relations with the EU, in particular current trade preferences', it argues for an ACP-EU framework agreement, dealing with issues of shared concern with regional EPA negotiations focussing on tariff reduction schedules and trade facilitation measures, The report highlights the complexities facing Eastern and Southern African countries, including overlapping membership of regional organisations, and with none being in a duly constituted customs union (apart from SACU) that would be capable of signing a free-trade area agreement. On the other hand the pre-existence of a free-trade area agreement with the EU covering five countries (the TDCA involving South Africa) further complicates the issue. There are thus major problems rgarding the appropriate geographical framework within which SADC countries should seek to negotiate with the EU. The report therefore advocates a collective regional negotiations process embracing SADC, COMESA and the East African Community within a framework of variable geometry. Comment: Much of the discussion on the geographical configuration for the negotiations ignores the hard reality that, unlike in the case of the EU, few governments in Southern Africa have ceded power over tariff policy to a regional body. This means that in reality national governments are going to have to prepare positions and negotiate EPAs with the EU on a basis which takes into account the needs of their neighbours. This is going to be a complex and intense process. If it is not successfully achieved then the regional dimension of EPA negotiations will serve to undermine national positions rather than strengthen them.