RE: “What is in EPAs deal for EAC?” (The New Times, August 3).
EAC should not sign the EPAs deal as that kind of trade would ultimately destroy the small industries in the region and undermine the ability to create new ones.
Free trade deals with western countries that give huge subsidy to their farmers, for instance, are self-defeating as our countries don’t have capacity to provide similar subsidies to our farmers or industries.
EU annually destroys much of their farm produce and even pays farmers not to produce in order to manipulate the price—we can’t compete with them yet and we need to consolidate ourselves first.
East Africa should learn from NAFTA and how this free trade with Mexico destroyed the Mexican economy and created huge unemployment there as Mexico could not compete with the US that, annually, destroy in the fields and dump at sea its farm produce in order to control international market price.
We need to focus on creating local industries and develop, integrate intra-African trade. We have to avoid making long-term deals in which we can only provide raw materials whose price is determined by our competitors.
If we create strong industries, we can manage to trade not only among ourselves but also with any country in the world without deals at all; these deals are entrapment, straitjackets that will work against our role in pan-African free trade.
If East African Community states sign the proposed deal, the region will become a European outpost and a door to African market of cheap European products!