Urge Merkel to support a more fair trade

I just took part in this Oxfam campaign to urge Angela Merkel to support a more fair version of the trade deal that is currently under negotiation between EU and the ACP countries.

Here is my slightly letter slightly changed from the original:

In 2007 you have enormous influence on the world stage as holder of the European Union (EU) Presidency and as host of the G8. You have said that you will focus on genuine partnership between poor countries and the EU.

Not even EU has free trade. The current EU import taxes that increase with increasing added-value and export subsidies for agricultural products via the CAP both have strong detrimental effects on the trade from and within the ACP countries. These should be abolished before demanding that ACP countries take away import taxes.

During your EU Presidency, you have a historic opportunity to use your influence to make sure that EU trade policy promotes poverty reduction and sustainable development in some of the world’s poorest countries.

Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are being negotiated between the European Union and 75 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries. These countries have repeatedly voiced their concerns about the likely negative impact of the proposed deals on their economies.

The current proposals could trap millions of people in poverty, cripple developing countries' fledging industries and oblige governments to surrender control of their economies and natural resources. Rather than pushing ACP countries to accept free trade agreements before they are ready, the EU must work with these countries to offer fair alternatives that reduce poverty and promote development.

Germany has many opportunities to help eradicate international poverty in 2007. We ask that you use your EU Presidency to influence EU Member States and the European Commission to:

- Listen and act upon the concerns and
proposals of African, Caribbean and
Pacific (ACP) governments and civil

- Make sure that ACP countries are not
pressured to negotiate on issues they
have already rejected at the World
Trade Organisation (WTO) or do not
want to negotiate within EPAs;

- Make sure any new trade deals do not
force poor countries to open their
markets to unfair competition;

- Actively foster alternatives to these
trade deals so that poor countries
have a pro-development choice and
the space to have the best trade
policies for their people and


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