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Civil society calls on government to reject EU, EPA negotiations

The Executive Director of the Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD), Abu Brima has called upon the government of Sierra Leone to reject the European Commission (EC) pressure to conclude the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) negotiations by the end of December this year.
The Executive Director was speaking yesterday at the Miatta conference hall in a symposium to mark the International day against the economic partnership agreement organized by (NMJD) in collaboration with Integrated Social Development Center (ISODEC) and GCAP Sierra Leone.
Mr Brima noted that the government should also reject the false claims by the EC that only the EPAs can protect access of African (and other Caribbean and Pacific) exports to the European market.
He added that Africa has nothing to lose in not signing the EPAs; on the contrary he said, by not signing the EPAs they will be saving their future development, adding that the agreement aims at creating preferential trade relations between the European Union (EU) and the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) countries.
The Executive Director of NMJD stated “we condemn the growing abuse by the (EC) of the December deadline for the conclusion of the negotiations and for the expiry of the Cotonou waiver to put unjustified pressure on our government to concede to the EU’s proposals on the EPAs”.
He maintained that the EPAs posed a threat not only specifically to government revenue, local producers and industries, food sovereignty, essential public services, and the regional integration of African countries, but also to the right and capacity in general of African countries to develop their economies according to the needs of their people and their own national, regional and continental priorities.
According to the Executive Director, the EU, is demanding that these countries must eliminate all duties on up to 80% of agricultural and industrial products imported from Europe.

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