Friday, November 16, 2007

Sleight of hand

Reuters reports that the European Commission (EC) will give Tanzania US$800m between 2008 and 2013, to help it boost trade. Around 90% of the program is dedicated to macroeconomic aid, support to the transport sector and a trade and agriculture focal area aimed at pro-poor growth.

At the same time, Tanzania is among African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) nations in talks with the EU ahead of signing an Economic Partnership Agreement trade deal before a December 31 deadline.

The EU wants to sign these new Partnership Agreements with ACP countries to replace preferential deals that the World Trade Organisation has deemed illegal.

Opponents of the new Economic Partnership Agreements argue they will weaken developing economies, expose them to cheap European imports and cut government revenues earned from tariffs.

Is this just a sleight of hand? Giving with one hand while taking with the other?

I wonder whether what bargaining power the ACP countries might have?

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