Libyan leader is­sues warn­ing to EU over African trade

The Pak Banker - - 6in­ter­na­tional -

TRIPOLI: Libyan leader Muam­mar Gaddafi warned the Euro­pean Union Mon­day that Africa would turn to other trade part­ners if the EU con­tin­ued to im­pose terms for co­op­er­a­tion.

Gaddafi's warn­ing, at an EU-Africa sum­mit at­tended by se­nior Euro­pean of­fi­cials, echoed com­plaints from some other African lead­ers who say Europe is try­ing to make them open their bor­ders to trade but not giv­ing enough in re­turn.

"Our choice now is to co­op­er­ate with our broth­ers in the Euro­pean Union but if that co­op­er­a­tion fails, Africa has other choices," Gaddafi said in open­ing re­marks at the sum­mit in Tripoli. "Let ev­ery coun­try and ev­ery group gov­ern it­self. Ev­ery coun­try is free to serve its own in­ter­ests."

"Africa can look to any other in­ter­na­tional bloc such as Latin Amer­ica, China, In­dia or Rus­sia."

A leaked in­ter­nal doc­u­ment from the African Union this month showed some gov­ern­ments on the con­ti­nent felt that trade deals be­ing of­fered by the EU were one-sided.

It said the bloc was ask­ing African coun­tries to lib­er­al­ize their economies to com­ply with World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WTO) rules but was not do­ing enough to help them de­velop their own economies.

"We do not ben­e­fit from the WTO and we call for its abo­li­tion," Gaddafi said. "All its in­ter­ests are in open­ing our bor­ders for in­dus­trial goods and killing national in­dus­tries in the Third World, so I call (on ev­ery­body) not to join it."

The Libyan leader also took a swipe at the EU's prac­tice of link­ing eco­nomic as­sis­tance to African coun­tries' re­spect for hu­man rights and good gov­er­nance.

"We are not in­ter­ested in po­lit­i­cal power. We want eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment," he said. "What is the mean­ing of hu­man rights? What is the mean­ing of good gov­er­nance?" In his own speech to the sum­mit, Euro­pean Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Her­man Van Rom­puy de­fended the bloc's pol­icy on Africa.

"In a highly in­ter­de­pen­dent world econ­omy, there are no easy recipes. But I am con­vinced that we can find ways of mu­tu­ally ben­e­fi­cial co­op­er­a­tion, no­tably via the pri­vate sec­tor. "We need to tran­scend the state depen­dent economies which have per­formed so poorly over decades of de­vel­op­ment co­op­er­a­tion," Van Rom­puy said. The EU, the world's big­gest trad­ing zone, has for years been try­ing to ham­mer out free-trade deals, known as Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship Agree­ments (EPAs), with African coun­tries. But so far none of the five African re­gional group­ings ne­go­ti­at­ing the EPAs with the EU has fully im­ple­mented an agree­ment. -Reuters

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