September 15, 2006, Zambia

CIVIL society organizations have called for strengthening of Zambia’s negotiating capacity to adequately deal with the fears regarding Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs).

The organizations raised several issues during a consultative workshop on EPAs on Monday in Kitwe, organised by Civil Society Trade Network of Zambia (CSTNZ) and Consumer Unity and Trust Society-Africa Resource Centre (CUTS-ARC).

CUTS-ARC researcher Vladmir Chilinya said EPAs between European Union (EU) and the African Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states are anticipated to serve as a key element for increased trade between the two regions.

Chiliniya said Zambia, being party to the EPA negotiation is expected to benefit from increased exports and welfare due to lower imported prices.

He, however, said the proposed trade liberlisation under EPAs has been criticised as not being suitable for reducing poverty in Zambia.

Civil society organizations indicated that like privatization, which resulted into job and welfare loss for a large percent of the population, EPAs might have a similar effect.