Forum Haiti : Des Idées et des Débats sur l'Avenir d'Haiti

Forum Haiti : Des Idées et des Débats sur l'Avenir d'Haiti

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 Oganization Ayisyen ap defann dwa yo kont Inyon Eropeen.

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MessageSujet: Oganization Ayisyen ap defann dwa yo kont Inyon Eropeen.   Ven 26 Oct 2007 - 0:09

Article's Date: Thursday, October 25, 2007

Haiti


Standing up to the EPA threat

Many groups here say that a trade pact with the EU would destroy Haiti’s agriculture sector. Larry Luxner

Charles Arthur

Rights groups urge government to back out of trade pact with European Union.

Haitian development and human rights organizations in Haiti are campaigning against the signing of a new trade relationship with the European Union (EU) that they say will strike a further blow against the country’s already ailing economy.

An Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the EU and the 16 Caribbean nations grouped together as Cariforum is due to be signed by the end of this year.

The Haitian government has indicated that it is ready to sign, but Haitian organizations, including those representing peasant farmers, say the agreement — which will eliminate tariffs on goods traded between signatory nations — will destroy the country’s agricultural sector, which provides a livelihood for around two-thirds of the country’s 8 million people.

Campaigners stress that the Haitian economy needs more protection, not less.

The EU has been negotiating these trade agreements for five years with groups of mostly former European colonies in Africa, the Caribbean and Asia. The EPAs are set to replace the existing trade structure, the Cotonou Convention that expires on Dec. 31 of this year.

EU negotiators state that the agreements will help these countries to develop their economies, many of which rely on basic commodity exports, and will help foster regional markets by attracting foreign investment.

Facing the EPA
But a newly-formed coalition of nine Haitian organizations and networks, Bare APE in Creole, or “Block the EPA,” disagrees. On Sept. 26, the coalition, which includes the Tèt Kole peasant movement and the Platform to Advocate for Alternative Development, launched a campaign of demonstrations, workshops, and meetings with government entities and international organizations.

“This mobilization will allow various sectors of our nation to continue to consider the best ways to arrive at an alternative, sustainable development by protecting the vital sectors of national production, and to prevent the European Union from mortgaging this country’s chances of development,” the coalition said in a statement on the eve of the campaign launch.

One of the driving forces behind the campaign is Camille Chalmers, director of the Platform to Advocate for Alternative Development. He points to the case of rice, the staple diet of the vast majority of Haitians, stating that the reduction of protective tariffs on imported rice and the absence of state support for rice farmers over recent decades have already taken their toll.

“Haiti was self-sufficient in food until 1972. In 1985 we produced 123,000 metric tons of rice, but the latest figures for 2006 indicate we produced just 76,000 metric tons and imported 342,000 metric tons,” he said. “We have the most outrageous situation. Haiti, the poorest country on the American continent, is one of the top four importers of rice from the United States.

If the trend continues, we will witness the disappearance of rice production, and 120,000 people will become unemployed.”

Another critic of the proposed EPA is Jean-Baptiste Charles, the director of the dairy production program of the Veterimed organization that helps peasant farmers to improve production. Veterimed’s dairy production program has revitalized milk production, but Charles laments the fact that “theoretically we have enough milk to supply national demand, yet we are continuing to import milk to the cost of around US$30 million a year.”

Charles says his organization sees the industrialized countries subsidizing their producers and then their cheaper products invade the markets of countries like Haiti. The result is that Haitian farmers are forced out of business.
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MessageSujet: Re: Oganization Ayisyen ap defann dwa yo kont Inyon Eropeen.   Ven 26 Oct 2007 - 8:46

Isn't it sad that the poorest country in the western hemisphere,where unemployment is more than 50% that the government is signing these treaties without any consideretion of their impact to the local economy.No wonder why the swet shops in Port-au-prince can exploit the poor workers for less than 2 dollars a day.The sector of the economy that has the most potential to employ haitian peasants is the one that is neglected by the government.

President Preval should include Camille Charlmers and Pharel in an economic Commision to study the impact of this treaty before he agrees to join in .I am not an advocate of isolationism ,but the poor countries of the caribean shoul study more carefully these treaties,for it doesn't make any sense to put our peasants out of work in order to satisfy the demands of the rich countries.A good treaty should be beneficial to all the partners.

It is illogical to hear that haitians have to import rice to feed the population whereas the bureaucrats are siphoning the money from the treasury to pay diplomats, consuls, ambassadors, Senators, Deputies, Prime Minister et al.It is contrary to any economic theory for a poor country like haiti to neglect agricultural development and all the other sectors of the economy,like tourism, to burden the budget with all these bureaucrats who are not producing any goods and services to increase the GNP of the country.Common sense should dictate that agricultural developement must be the priority of the proprities of any government in haiti.
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