Products from the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) trade bloc still find it difficult to penetrate the EU market despite an existing trade arrangement with African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) nations, a COMESA official said Thursday.
Erastus Mwencha, COMESA secretary general, urged COMESA members at a meeting of the ACP-EU Contonou Agreement ahead of the official launch of the COMESA Free Trade Area (FTA) next week to ratify the Contonou Agreement to avail themselves to financial resources for the development of their countries.
"COMESA countries entering into a FTA agreement with the EU appears not to be feasible for most countries since this will have serious consequences on revenue loss and the competitiveness of their industries," he said.
Zambian mines minister, Syumukayumbu Siamujaye, told the same meeting that there was urgent need to have equitable trade partnership between Europe and the ACP group of countries. "A fundamental structural inequality continues to be perpetuated to the advantage of Europe and to the detriment of ACP countries," he said.
ACP countries crave for a trade partnership that recognized both their strength and comparative advantage and their weaknesses, Saimujaye said.
Founded in 1994, COMESA comprises Angola, Burundi, Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibie, Rwanda, Seychelles, Swaziland, Sudan, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. — (AFP, Lusaka)
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