Unfair Trade Agreements

Examines the impact of the recent proliferation of preferential trade agreements on social inclusion, equality and respect for human rights The trade war between the United States and China has escalated in recent days after Washington on Monday called Beijing a currency manipulator for the first time since 1994 and announced that it would impose 10% tariffs on the remaining $300 billion of Chinese imports. from 1 September. With regard to Aid for Trade funds, the example of the West African EPODP shows the inadequacies of such initiatives in order to effectively link EU free trade agreements to development objectives, namely poverty reduction. West African countries have argued that all Aid for Trade funds should be ”new” financing, not from existing EU commitments under the European Development Fund (EDF). They also calculated that the transitional cost of the EPA and its associated financing to increase productivity would be €9.5 billion. Despite this, the European Commission responded with a significantly reduced grant of €6.5 billion, which came explicitly from existing EDF commitments (Langan and Price, 2015, p. 283). As a result, many West African civil society organisations felt that the EU had deceived West African citizens. That is, EU officials had agreed that the EPOBDP was a way to legitimize the free trade agreement as ”development-friendly”, despite its likely negative effects on key sectors such as poultry in the region. For example, the West African Civil Society Platform on the Cotonou Agreement states that ”the EU`s persistent refusal to make a substantial and specific commitment to cover the fiscal adjustment costs that the EPA will impose on ECOWAS economies, as well as the additional appropriations for paped [EPADP] constitute clear violations of existing agreements and obligations” (ibid., p. 281, b. Meanwhile, the National Association of Nigerian Traders (NANTS) has condemned the modesty of the EU`s offer in the relative context of billions of euro bailouts for eurozone members (ibid.).

Under the Everything But Arms (EBA) initiative, least developed countries (LDCs) have duty-free access to competition for the vast majority of their exports to the EU. Whereas, for the other developing countries of the ACP countries, market access is unlikely to extend well beyond the preferences they had already had under the Lomé Conventions and, in the absence of an appropriate convention or transitional provisions, they themselves will lose these important trade opportunities;

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