The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa has rallied developing countries to jointly reject what he described as unfair trade and deceitful practices by the European Union.
Speaking at the African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) Parliamentary conference in Brussels, Belgium, Tayebwa condemned the EU member states for exporting banned pesticides and products to developing countries.
He rallied ACP member states to speak as a team against the double standard arrangement citing the “vulnerability we all have”.
Tayebwa who led the Ugandan delegation to Brussels said that developing countries don’t have the capacity to take on the EU independently, noting that ‘speaking against this with one voice gives us an advantage’.
“We are not able to take on this giant (European Union) independently. Even the EU didn’t do it alone; they came as a group and we should also act as a group and reject this unfairness,” he said.
“Why are you allowing dangerous products to be manufactured in your union and be exported to other countries? Stop it,” Tayebwa said.
He added that some of the poisonous products such as milk are sent by the European Union to poor countries in form of donations to poor children and refugees.
“If you send them to a refugee, someone who has nothing to eat or drink, how will you tell them about sovereignty?” he added.
Tayebwa said most countries where EU-made poisonous products are exported, have no safety bodies to carry out their own tests.
“It’s unfair for anyone to allow a cancer-causing product to be manufactured as long as it’s for export to other countries,” he said.
Under EU rules, any company that wants to export banned chemicals needs to produce an “export notification” detailing the reasons the product is banned, its intended uses and the amount the company intends to ship.
National and EU regulators check the documents and issue them to authorities in the destination countries.
Gladys Boss Shollei, the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya said trade agreement is about good faith and ensuring that it’s fair to everyone.
“Our argument is that, if the European Union and the UK are allowing cancer causing pesticides to be manufactured in their own countries, exclusively to be exported to African countries, that’s not an act of good faith,” Shollei said.
She said the EU has a trade agreement that protects its people from harmful pesticides but ‘has laws that allow the banned chemicals to come into Africa’.
Dokolo District Woman Representative, Hon. Cecilia Ogwal who is part of Uganda’s delegation accused the EU of double standards.
“Their law says you can continue making dangerous chemicals as long as you don’t sell them in Europe. You can make the chemicals also purposely for export. We feel this is bad and an indirect way of eliminating Africa,” she said.
She said the European Union should make a commitment to stop exporting hazardous substances to developing countries.
Escipion Joaquin Oliveira Gomez, the Assistant Secretary General of the ACP said the conference seeks to ensure that the new laws and regulations that are drafted by the European Union conform to acceptable standards including protecting the environment in other parts of the world.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Parliament of the Republic of Uganda.