Namibia furious about proposed tough line on E.U. imports
The Namibian Government has hit out at the European Commission’s (EC) move to remove its duty- and quota-free markets for the country’s grapes, beef and fish, website Namibian.com.na reported.
The EC adopted a proposal last week to amend the Market Access Regulation of 2007, which has been governing E.U. imports from 36 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries.
New legislation will come into effect in 2014 but the Namibian Government is refusing to sign an interim economic partnership agreement (EPA) until unfair competition issues are resolved, the story reported.
Trade and industry minister Hage Geingob is annoyed that when EC trade commissioner Karel De Gucht visited Namibia on Sep. 13 no mention was made of the EC proposal.
“This is not the way to go, this is not a partnership. By setting an arbitrary deadline the EU is trying to put pressure on us to sign the EPA,” Geingob was quoted as saying.
However, if Namibia doesn’t sign it will lose its lucrative market to the 27 EU countries by January 2014. It is one of 18 countries which is yet to sign the EPAs.
The EC is maintaining a tough line on the issue saying it has already given these countries four years adjustment time. In an official document it is reported as saying, “The 18 countries which would be withdrawn from the Market Access Regulation have a choice: whether to go ahead and establish a partnership with the EU or not.”
In 2010, Namibia exported €1.16 billion (US$1.56 billion) worth of goods to the EU, which accounts for 30% of all the country’s exports.