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EPAs: New trade deals, old agendas

 Few people in East Africa know about the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) being negotiated between the European Union (EU) on the one hand and the countries of Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP), writes * Yash Tandon.

The Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) is primarily a trade agreement, but underlying it is a number of sensitive political and developmental issues.

Fifty years after Africa gained its independence from colonial rule, the relationship between it and the former empire is still a hot issue. One of the compelling aspects of re-negotiating this relationship is the requirement of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), of which both the EU and most African countries are members, that the old “tradepreferences” must be dismantled. Under the “imperial system of preferences” instituted by the Empire, its colonial outposts were given “preferential” access to the European market.

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