Help Africa fight dumping

4 September 2008

Help Africa fight dumping

The SP is urging the European Union to take action against market distortion in West Africa by Dutch trading companies. The Dutch firms are dumping tons of cheap meat on to the West African market, primarily consisting of pigs' trotters, tails and other parts of the animal that can be sold for very little in Europe. African farmers are seeing their business ruined by these dumping practices. In a Dutch television programme broadcast by the popular current affairs series Netwerk on Tuesday evening, the impact on Cameroon was portrayed: once flourishing pig farms now look out on scenes of cheerless desolation. Locally produced meat is dearer on the market there than are Europe's frozen surpluses.

Liberalisation and WTO rules

Erik Meijer "The Dutch exporters who have now established this pig-meat line to West Africa are the same firms which were in the past responsible for distortion of the African market for chicken," says SP Euro-MP Erik Meijer. "In 2007 I grilled the European Commission about this because there was then also an issue of European export refunds and production aids by which such practices were encouraged. But the abolition of these support measures hasn't had the desired effect. The Commission's answer then was that the countries affected would in the future have more opportunities to protect their sensitive sectors from the liberalisation of markets. I have now once again put questions to the Commission as to what the EU is going to do to assist third world countries with weak economies to protect themselves against the disastrous consequences of these dumping practices – by means of import levies, import limits or import bans." The World Trade Organisation puts hindrances in the way of import limits for both chicken and pigmeat, and these reduce the chances of African countries becoming self-supporting and at the same time increase Europe's dependence on their markets.

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