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African leaders condemn EU for unfair trade, deceitful practices

By Edith Mutethya in Nairobi, Kenya | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-03-02 20:53

African leaders have condemned European Union member states for exporting banned pesticides and products to developing countries.

The leaders, who spoke at the 62nd session of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Parliamentary conference in Brussels, Belgium, accused EU countries of double standards on toxic pesticides.

Thomas Tayebwa, deputy speaker of Uganda's parliament, rallied developing countries to jointly reject unfair trade and deceitful practices by the EU.

He urged African, Caribbean and Pacific member states to speak as a team against the arrangement, citing the "vulnerability we all have".

"Why are you allowing dangerous products to be manufactured in your union and be exported to other countries? Stop it," Tayebwa said.

He said in most of the countries where the poisonous products are exported, there are no safety bodies to test them.

"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.

In addition to exporting hazardous pesticides, Tayebwa said the EU has also been sending poisonous products to poor countries in form of donations.

Gladys Shollei, the deputy speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya, said trade agreement is about good faith and ensuring fairness for 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," she said.

Shollei expressed concerns 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".

Cecilia Ogwal, Uganda's Dokolo district women representative, said the EU should make a commitment to stop exporting hazardous substances to developing countries.

"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.

A report published last year by Heinrich Boll Stiftung, a German political foundation, found in 2018 and 2019 EU countries and the United Kingdom approved the export of a total of 140,908 metric tons of pesticides that are banned in European countries because of health and environmental risks.

The report further said a total of 230 active ingredients are registered in Kenya, including 51 that are no longer permitted in the EU, such as atrazine, trichlorfon and fipronil.

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