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Posted by: dfr3xcda16 (IP Logged)
Date: May 11, 2017 09:03PM

By Gary EleazarA group of picketers demonstrating against the EUThe Citizens Network for Review of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), a coalition of trade unions and civil society organizations, yesterday staged a picketing exercise outside of the European Commission’s office to protest the trading agreement.According to spokesperson for the group, Seepaul Narine, the General Secretary of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers’ Union (GAWU), the action was taken to further highlight the ?advantage taken on Caribbean (by the European Union)?He noted that the EU was holding out that for the region there must be a comprehensive EPA, yet there was widespread ignorance among the Caribbean populace as to what the EPA was about. ?Why the hurry for the Caribbean to sign,[url=$%&/]Cheap Jerseys From China[/url], when other regions have been given until 2009 to sign??He was referring specifically to the African countries that have signed on to a ‘goods only’ agreement with the EU, with a grace period to analyse the services’ aspect of the deal.According to Narine, the European Union has recognized, through the recent discussions,[url=$%&/]China Jerseys Online[/url], that there were problems with the EPA in its present form, saying that this was evident in the utterances of one of the European Commissioners, Peter Mandelson, who, according to Narine, said that there could be discussions following the signing,[url=$%&/]Jerseys NFL Wholesale[/url], citing an exit clause in the EPA.The group was also deeply concerned by what it deemed the failure of Regional Heads and the Regional Negotiating Machinery (RNM) to consult meaningfully on the details of the final agreement, and even in the course of negotiations during the previous months.The group again proposed a postponement of the designated date for the signing that will bring the EPA into force.Regional Heads have proposed to sign the agreement on October 15 with or without Guyana’s support.There was also a call by the group to have consultations with African/Caribbean/Pacific countries as well as with European civil society, in order to have a collective assessment of the impact of the EPA on the relevant societies, ?most especially on the poor and vulnerable citizens.”“We need the time to study the full implications of the EPA, in order to be able to make an informed response on behalf of our society as a whole.?The groups also used the opportunity to point out the analysis published by Oxfam International with regard to the EPA, namely that there should be ?thorough and comprehensive independent evaluations and impact assessments of what has been initialled before any deal is signed and committed into law; and that there should be vigorous engagement by Parliaments across Europe and the ACP, and full scrutiny of the deal.?ACP Summit in AccraOn Thursday last, the ACP commenced it Summit of Heads,[url=$%&/]China Jerseys Cheap[/url], and President Bharrat Jagdeo dispatched a message to the Summit seeking to emphasise Guyana’s predicament with the EPA.He noted that, in the Caribbean, there is an additional problem — Guyana has indicated its unwillingness to sign a full EPA as a matter of urgency and under threat of GSP tariff sanctions.  He sought to impress on the Summit that Guyana was particularly unhappy with the inclusion of ‘services’ and the ‘Singapore issues’ in the Caribbean EPA,[url=$%&/]Wholesale Jerseys China[/url], the MFN (Most Favoured Nations) clause that will impair South-South cooperation, as well as the absence of provisions to address supply side deficiencies. ?We are particularly unhappy about its anti-developmental character and its propensity to be inimical to Caribbean integration.?He noted that, in the interest of compromise, Guyana has offered to sign a ‘goods only’ WTO compatible agreement, as some African and Pacific countries are disposed to do at this time.?These positions were formally conveyed to the EU and they have indicated their unwillingness to conclude a goods-only WTO-compatible agreement with us alone, and threatening GSP sanctions if we do not sign the full agreement.?Jagdeo also noted that he has responded to the President of the Commission protesting what he called an unfair and unacceptable treatment, and reiterating Guyana’s readiness to sign a goods only agreement as others have done in other regions. ?Mandelson claims that he has no mandate to accommodate Guyana’s position, and this despite the decision of the EU Council’s conclusions at its meeting of May 26 and May 27 last, underlining the need for a flexible approach in relation to problematic issues, and call(ing) on the Commission to use all WTO-compatible flexibility and asymmetry in order to take account of the different needs and levels of development of the ACP countries and regions?. He added that it is therefore a matter that could affect all ACP countries.?In effect, we are being compelled to sign what we regard as a bad agreement to save our agricultural producers (sugar and rice) from economic disaster? Before we make such a decision under duress, however, we wish to have the benefit of this ACP discussion, and we have so told our regional colleagues.?Guyana Foreign Affairs Minister, Carolyn Rodrigues-Burkett, told the Summit that the ACP must unite around a strategy that demands equity and justice from Europe, that blunts the edge of reciprocity between unequal partners,[url=$%&/]Cheap NFL Jerseys China[/url], and looks more to proportionality that preserves all from a new European supremacy in Africa,[url=$%&/]Wholesale China Jerseys[/url], the Caribbean and the Pacific.?Europe may say it is too late, but it has itself stayed its hand at the eleventh hour to save itself.  Now, it is our salvation that is at stake, our survival. The greatest strength we have is our unity.  If we believe in it, and moreso if we demonstrate it, we can prevail.?

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