Call to UNITE and TAKE ACTION on the coming STOP EPAs Day

27 September 2007

The 27th September marks the fifth anniversary of the start of negotiations for Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the EU and the ACP (African, Caribbean & Pacific) countries. We call upon all organizations, coalitions and networks in the EU and ACP countries, as well as outside these regions to unite for this Global Day of Action of protest against the proposed EPAs.

We demand that EU-ACP trade relations should be founded on an approach that:
•    supports sustainable development in ACP countries and the realization of economic, social, environmental, cultural, civil and human rights;
•    is based on a principle of non-reciprocity and special and differential treatment (SDT) for least and lesser developed countries;
•    recognises  ACP producers rights to trade protection within their own domestic and regional markets, as they and their governments judge necessary;
•    recognises and supports food sovereignty of ACP countries
•    endorses and respects the right of ACP countries to the necessary policy space to formulate and pursue their own development strategies.

While presenting EPAs as “instruments for development”, the EU is pushing for agreements with far-reaching and comprehensive economic liberalisation terms. The EU proposals for EPAs would not only eliminate most tariffs on goods, but would also impose the inclusion of issues that goes beyond WTO commitments.
Such EPAs will open up ACP markets to devastating competition from EU exports. This will lead to increased social inequality and poverty through the destruction of local industries and small-scale agriculture, damaging employment and livelihoods. The terms set within the EPAs will sharply reduce the necessary democratic policy space for ACP countries to regulate and to design their own national and regional integration policies to meet their development goals and needs.

In the face of the formal deadline of 31 December 2007, the EU is putting tremendous pressure on the ACP countries to sign EPAs by the end of the year, including threats to reduce development aid and increase tariffs on their exports into the EU market.

We condemn the use of such bullying tactics against many of the world’s poorest countries. We strongly oppose the EU’s demand for reciprocal trade relations between countries of such unequal economic strength.

The Call To Action
We – social movements, farmers organisations, trade unions, faith organisations, and NGOs from Africa, the Caribbean and Pacific and the European Union call on the EU to:
•    not to impose trade liberalisations and other ‘trade-related’ terms upon the ACP countries
•    refrain from putting pressure on them to sign EPAs this year
•    offer non-reciprocal alternatives and to ensure that exports to the EU from ACP countries will not be interrupted
We also urge ACP countries not to give into EU pressures.

Join the 27 September 2007 Global Day of Action