Namibia expects to miss deadline for renewing Europe trade deal
Namibia said it won’t be able to renew a trade deal with the European Union by the time an existing agreement expires in October because the 28-nation bloc is inflexible over food and agricultural imports.
Namibia won’t renew andeal that “erodes its policy space to industrialize and to pursue free trade arrangements” with regional neighborus, Trade and Industry Minister Carl Schlettwein said in a phone interview today from the Namibian capital, Windhoek. “It won’t make sense to proceed with it.”
The EU has given Namibia and other African countries until Oct. 1 to negotiate new economic partnership agreements or risk losing the preferential market access granted in 2007. Namibia wants safeguards in the food and agriculture industries to ensure that local producers don’t have to compete with “heavily subsidized” goods from Europe, Schlettwein said.
Namibian exports of beef, fish and grapes would lose duty-free access to the EU if the trade deal isn’t renewed by October, Schlettwein said. The nature of the agreement being pushed by Europe would mean Namibia would have to give up the possibility of a free-trade area with 15-nation Southern African Development Community that ranges from South Africa to the Democratic Republic of Congo, he said.