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  1. 1. 1 Afrique NourricièreAfrique NourricièreAfrique NourricièreAfrique Nourricière RESEAU DES ORGANISATIONS PAYSANNES ET DE PRODUCTEURS AGRICOLES DE L’AFRIQUE DE L’OUEST 09 BP 884 Ouagadougou 09 - Tel (226) 50-36-08-25 ; Tel/Fax : 50-36-26-13 ; site : ; Email :; PRESS CONFERENCE ON CET AND EPA NEGOTIATIONS INTRODUCTORY SPEECH 1. Within the 1st edition of the Farmer University of ROPPA, representatives of national platforms from 13 countries members of ECOWAS, the members of the Board and representatives of the CSOs held a session of exchanges and evaluation of negotiations on the ECOWAS CET and these regarding the EPAs between EPAs and European Union and West Africa. 2. Regarding the CET, the participants reiterate their sincere thanks to the Heads of States and Governments of ECOWAS for the adoption of a 5th band. Moreover, the conclusions of negotiations for the re- categorization of tariff lines are still broadly below the expectations from millions of family farmers who contribute mainly in the production and creation of wealth of the region and this despite the mobilization and continuous calls of networks of FOs and CSOs during more than ten years of negotiations. ROPPA and its member national platforms are convinced that CET adopted by the Heads of States and governments in October 2013 in Senegal will enable to carry effectively the process of regional integration and the objectives assigned to the regional agricultural policies (ECOWAP, PAU) , creation of employments and stable agricultural incomes. 3. Regarding the negotiations on EPAs, ROPPA and its farmer national platforms consider that the compromises adopted between the negotiators of EU and West Africa is simply a betrayal of hopes and expectations from populations aroused by the adoption of ECOWAS treaty within the framework of the regional integration by the Heads of States and governments of West Africa is not ready to sign EPAs with EU as testify many analyses/studies carried out on the economic, political and social aspects. 4. EPAs within the current context of its evolution will submit the region to challenges that have not been accepted nowhere in the world. Indeed, 12 countries, among the less advanced countries (LAC) across the world, will be obliged, for the first time to open broadly their markets in a very short-term-95% of products will be liberalized in the 15 first years-giving up important taxation incomes and submitting their infant industries to risks whereas that their international engagements to the World Trade organization (WTO) don’t oblige them to it.
  2. 2. 2 5. Then, following the increase in offer of access to the market throughout West Africa from 70 to 75%, the LACs, like the other countries of the region, will submit to the liberalization of products and sectors which normally should be excluded. 6. With regards to the stakes and EPAs’ challenges and stakes, ROPPA and its national platforms submit their following recommendations and suggestions to the Heads of States and the ECOWAS’ governing bodies: a) We ask Heads of States to require additional resources for PAPED (EPA programme for development). They engage to provide West Africa only 6.5 billions of Euros on 5 years for 16 countries, the European Union will not contribute to the up-grading of the infant industry of West Africa. We encourage the Heads of States to require stable and foreseeable additional resources which cover the needs voiced by West Africa, with flexible mechanisms of cash outflows. In addition, we demand that the implementation of engagements of West Africa in the liberalization is related to the adequate with financial resources of the PAEPED. b) The EU’s engagement to give up exporting subsidies cannot be considered as an important concession since its existence a multilateral compromise on this issue since the WTO’s conference in Hong- Kong in 2005. The internal supports which create important imbalances on West African markets are not the object of cancellation engagements. ROPPA requires effective measures that can preserve West African agriculture of any kinds of dumping and other measures hindering the exchanges of agricultural products. c) The removal of the clause from the most favored national. With the inclusion of the Most Favored Nation, West Africa engaged to provide European Union with any more favorable trade advantage given in the future to countries that most are developing countries: China, Saudi-Arabia Mexico, India, Thailand, Malaysia, as well as the Association of South-East States (ANASE), to the Common Market of South (MERCOSUR) and to the Cooperation Council of Gulf (CCG) acting as a group. Owing the importance of those stakes and the fact that the Less Favored Nation Clause is not a requirement for the legal validity of EPAs, we encourage the Heads of States of West Africa to require its withdrawal from EPAs. d) The cancellation of the rendezvous scheduled with the EU to start negotiations on services, intellectual property and innovation, including traditional knowledge and genetic resources, movements of capitals, protection of personal data, investment, competition, and protection of consumers, sustainable development and public markets, six months after the EPA’s conclusions. e) We require from Heads of States the engagement of a transparent and democratic process for the finalization of EPA’s negotiations by setting up a mechanism of information and training of the various groups of actors concerned, notably members of parliaments, members of the Economic and Social Council, private sector, unions and press, among others, on the content, stakes and challenges related to the negotiations. 7. ROPPA and its member national platforms re-affirm their staunch devotion to the construction of the regional integration of West Africa. We hail the adoption of the Common External Tariff (CET) and let’s encourage the Heads o States to carry on the efforts for the construction of an integrated and prosperous space , by protecting West African resources and by providing opportunities of a better life to all the citizens across our region, in particular the poorest and the most vulnerable.
  3. 3. 3 8. To this end, we encourage and ask Heads of States to take all the appropriate measures to facilitate the real enforcement and compliance with the community laws aiming at the free movement of people and goods in West Africa to ensure a community preference necessary for the development of a regional unique market, the industrial development and economic transformation. Made in Ouagadougou, on 0 3/06/2014