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Postopek : 2008/0137(NLE)
Potek postopka na zasedanju
Potek postopka za dokument : A8-0328/2016

Predložena besedila :

A8-0328/2016

Razprave :

PV 30/11/2016 - 13
CRE 30/11/2016 - 13

Glasovanja :

PV 01/12/2016 - 6.11
Obrazložitev glasovanja

Sprejeta besedila :

P8_TA(2016)0466

Razprave
Sreda, 30. november 2016 - Bruselj Pregledana izdaja

13. Vmesni sporazum o gospodarskem partnerstvu med EU in Gano (razprava)
Video posnetki govorov
PV
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  El Presidente. – El punto siguiente en el orden del día es el debate sobre la Recomendación, de la Comisión de Comercio Internacional, sobre el proyecto de Decisión del Consejo relativa a la celebración del Acuerdo de Asociación Económica interino entre Ghana, por una parte, y la Comunidad Europea y sus Estados miembros, por otra (12396/2016 - C8-0406/2016 - 2008/0137(NLE)) (Ponente: Christofer Fjellner) (A8-0328/2016).

 
  
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  Christofer Fjellner, rapporteur. – Mr President, this trade deal with Ghana is very important. It is especially important for Ghana. In 2015, Ghanaian exports to the European Union accounted for EUR 2.4 billion. 46% of Ghana’s exports was to the European Union. The consequences of voting ‘no’ to this agreement, of not ratifying this agreement, would be dramatic for Ghana. They would face a wall of EU tariffs. Even though the average tariff for Ghana would be around 8.13% – it might not sound much but it is a prohibitive tariff level; for many products in areas where Ghana has a lot of exports, the tariffs are even higher. For bananas, for example, they would have most favoured nation duties of 19.7%, and for prepared tuna 20.7%. The consequences of saying ‘no’ to this would be dramatic for Ghana.

And why would they face this wall of tariffs? The answer is simple: because the current trade regime the EU has with Ghana – the Market Access Regulation – is running out in 2016. That is the reason why we have to take this decision now. And then one might ask: why does the current regime run out in 2016? The answer to that is actually pretty simple: it is because we in this House decided so. With a broad majority. I remember negotiating with my good friend and colleague David Martin, on specifically that date, to say that this existing trade regime should run out in 2016. But the thing with this trade agreement is that it is actually a pretty good agreement. It is a good agreement that we present instead of the current regime. Ghana will get duty-free access to the European Union from day one. 75% of Ghanaian tariff lines will be liberalised, yes, but they will be liberalised over 15 years.

People talk about the fact that we need to have asymmetrical agreements, taking into account that they do not have the same level of development in many areas and competitiveness. I would say if this is not asymmetrical, taking that into account, I cannot imagine what would be. They get free access: from day one, 75% of their lines will be liberalised, but over 15 years. It is worth repeating. And the tariffs removed in Ghana are mainly things like industrial machines, pumps, generators, turbines, certain vehicles, boats, aircraft, cars, certain chemicals – all of those are used as input to Ghanaian industries and not produced locally. Eliminating import duties on these products will reduce the cost of imports for local businesses and increase their competitiveness.

What we didn’t liberalise is mainly agriculture, the sensitive stuff, things like chicken and other meat, tomatoes, onions, sugar, tobacco, beer, clothes, wheat, frozen fish, some industrial things like industrial plastics. We did take their needs into account. And there are safeguards in this agreement to protect the Ghanaian side. But not only that. The reason I speak about Ghana now and what this means to Ghana is no serious actors have questioned that this will have any serious implications on the European Union and our trade policy. Those who are criticising say it is bad for Ghana, but we should let Ghana decide what is good or bad for Ghana, and Ghana is a democracy. The government and parliament have with broad majority supported this, and why should we then reject it?

Let me therefore finish by quoting the Minister of Foreign Affairs from Ghana, Hanna Tetteh, in her letter to the Committee on International Trade, where she says: ‘We believe, when it comes to determine the matter of what is in our best national interest, we, as elected representatives of the people of Ghana, the Parliament of the Republic of Ghana, have both the legitimacy and the mandate to make that determination, and not to any other third party, irrespective of however well intended such third party decisions might be’. Don’t act as new imperialists here. Listen and respect the people of Ghana, and let them decide if it is good for them.

 
  
  

IN THE CHAIR: MAIREAD McGUINNESS
Vice-President

 
  
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  Cecilia Malmström, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, I would like to thank the rapporteur and the shadow rapporteurs for the work they have been doing.

This is actually the third time this year that I have had the opportunity to discuss with you in plenary the agenda of our Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with Africa. I came in February, we had a debate on an oral question on the sustainable development provisions of the EU—West Africa EPA and we had a good debate in December on the SADC EPA, following which you gave your assent, so that has now entered into force and I thank you for that. We are now working with our friends in SADC countries with great enthusiasm to put that into practice and to make it to function as intended.

Throughout Africa we are moving to the implementation phase as more and more African parliaments are giving their ratification to the EPAs. The Trade for All communication recognised that fulfilling the promise of these agreements will be a major deliverable for the next few years. It is now for us and our partners to fully use trade as a tool for growth, sustainable development and employment.

In West Africa a large majority of countries have signed the regional EPA which, as you know, ultimately intends to foster and strengthen the regional integration process in that part of Africa. We are committed to the conclusion of that EPA together with the regional organisation. But, while that process is ongoing, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire decided to keep up their economic development by preserving their access to the EU market.

They did so by reviving the best option available at the moment, an interim bilateral EPA. The interim EPA with Ghana remains compatible with our objective of achieving a regional EPA which will, of course, ultimately replace this one. We are continuing to work hard to get a West Africa EPA in place for the near future but today let us focus on the one we have on the table with Ghana.

It is a self—standing, WTO—compatible trade agreement of unlimited duration. It immediately guarantees Ghana’s exporters duty—free, quota—free access to the EU market. The agreement protects local development through safeguard clauses and a limited and gradual liberalisation focusing on equipment and inputs. Many provisions deal with support for Ghanaian producers to meet EU standards, which is, of course, good for farmers and for the transformation of agricultural products. The EPA also contains cooperation provisions to accompany Ghana during the implementation of the agreement.

I would also like to highlight that the EPA is anchored in the provisions of the Cotonou Agreement. This includes the essential elements and sustainable development objectives, its provisions on labour, environment, democratic principles and human rights. This is very important to remember.

When I came here in February – I think it was in Strasbourg actually – I committed to having sustainable development as a strong element of the implementation of all our EPAs. It is true that this bilateral EPA with Ghana has been negotiated with 2018 in view and it does not contain a sustainable development chapter on top of what we have in the Cotonou Agreement. But it is linked to the Cotonou Agreement and this does not mean that we are not active in this area.

We are committed to engaging in a dialogue on sustainable development in the EPA Joint Committee that will be created by this Agreement. The same goes for involving civil society. There are provisions in the EPA that give us a hook for putting this into place. For example it is foreseen that civil society organisations can participate as observers in the EPA Joint Committee, and I can guarantee you that Ghana is very committed to doing this.

Ghana is one of the thriving democracies in the region. They have a well—developed civil society in place. That is not always the case in the region, but in Ghana it is. The Foreign Affairs Minister, Hanna Tetteh, made it clear when she came to the Committee on International Trade and she said to you – and I spoke to her as well – that they have already started to engage civil society and they are committed to sustainable development at the highest level.

This is about companies and about people. A substantial part of Ghana’s trade is done with the EU. Ghana’s exports to the EU amounted to EUR 2.6 billion last year. On cocoa and bananas they are heavily dependent on us, and non-traditional exports, such as processed tuna, depend on the EU market even more. Those exports contribute to building local value chains which involve SMEs and create jobs, directly and indirectly. So this provides a solid environment for local and foreign investors, which should not be underestimated because when European investors settle in Ghana, they increase the share of formal employment, which ensures more protection for Ghanaian workers as well.

Finally, I believe that the successful implementation of the EPAs with Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and other African countries will be the best proof that our trade responds to the many challenges faced with our partners. It is also the best way to convince remaining partners to opt for the regional EPA, demonstrating on the ground the benefits of deepening trade relationships with us. I hope there will be strong support for this when you vote on it tomorrow in the plenary.

 
  
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  Jarosław Wałęsa, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Madam President, first of all I would like to congratulate the rapporteur on his great work and I would like to support his recommendation to give consent to this agreement, which opens up the door to its provisional application. West Africa is our largest trade partner in sub-Saharan Africa. At the same time, the European Union contributes to economic growth and development in the region and is the main export market for West African agriculture and fisheries products.

The deal on the Stepping Stone Economic Partnership Agreement with Ghana and Ivory Coast ensures a contractual safety net warranting a duty-free quota, free access to the EU market, and asymmetric gradual opening of Ghana’s market to EU goods until the regional agreement comes into force. Moreover, the interim agreement includes provisions on development cooperation, trade defence and trade facilitation measures including sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

Furthermore I wish to call for swift implementation of this economic partnership agreement. If it comes into place without excessive delay, any discrepancies in tariff liberalisation schedules and tariff lines would be solved without any need for additional adaptation to the regional processes, which is highly advisable.

 
  
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  Jude Kirton-Darling, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Madam President, in the words of our rapporteur Christofer Fjellner’s draft report, this agreement with Ghana is incomplete and outdated. We are only compelled to consider it because the Commission has failed to deliver a sustainable strategy for West Africa. To build a real economic partnership with Ghana and the rest of West Africa, we need far more than traditional trade liberalisation and old-fashioned power politics. The content of this agreement is poor, the methods employed to conclude it are far worse.

We have a duty to be coherent with our global sustainable development goals, and this agreement is not about value-based trade. On the contrary, it undermines our values by not even mentioning them in the core of the agreement. Finally, there are alternatives available to ensure market access for Ghanaian exporters, and no reason for us to rush through an interim solution, which could become very quickly a permanent bad deal for the EU and Ghana.

(The speaker agreed to take a blue-card question under Rule 162(8))

 
  
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  Christofer Fjellner, rapporteur, blue-card question. – Ms Kirton-Darling, if you are to quote me and my report would you be so kind as to quote me correctly the next time, and not only say that I think this agreement is insufficient, but that it is insufficient compared to the final general regional Economic Partnership Agreement. Because if you cut me like that, you actually lie.

 
  
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  Jude Kirton-Darling (S&D), blue-card answer. – I quoted directly from the draft report which was tabled in the Committee on International Trade (INTA). We are talking about the EU-Ghana Interim Economic Partnership Agreement and not about the Regional Economic Partnership Agreement, and those were your words in relation to the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement.

 
  
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  Helmut Scholz, im Namen der GUE/NGL-Fraktion. – Frau Präsidentin! Frau Kommissarin, Sie wissen, dass ich viele positive Aspekte Ihrer überarbeiteten Handelsstrategie anerkenne, insbesondere was den höheren Stellenwert des fairen Handels und die Durchsetzbarkeit von verbindlichen Nachhaltigkeitskapiteln betrifft. Der Text dieses alten EPA, eines Interims-EPA mit Ghana, ist jedoch ein Gespenst aus der alten Zeit.

Wir verbieten dem Land Exportsteuern auf unverarbeitete Rohstoffe. Warum? Westafrika hat sich am 1. Januar 2015 auf gemeinsame Außenzölle geeinigt. Dieses alte EPA hat jedoch andere Werte. Wo ist unser Respekt für regionale Integration? Nach einem Brexit würden die Importe der EU aus Ghana um 32 % geringer sein. Wie kompensieren wir das? Ghana sah sich zur Unterschrift unter ein Abkommen genötigt, das nicht mehr europäischen und afrikanischen modernen Interessen entspricht. Wir müssen auf perspektivische Fragen des dritten und vierten Jahrzehnts unseres Jahrhunderts heute Antwortvorschläge unterbreiten – im Interesse der Menschen in Ghana, Afrika und der EU.

Meine Fraktion wird deshalb dieses alte, nicht regionale EPA morgen ablehnen.

 
  
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  Franz Obermayr, im Namen der ENF-Fraktion. – Frau Vorsitzende! Die Entwicklung Ghanas ist durchaus zu begrüßen, und auch die Marktöffnung Ghanas zu 83 Prozent mit dem kommenden Handelsabkommen hört sich zunächst positiv an. Allerdings wird dies zu einer Flutung Ghanas mit europäischen Produkten führen und damit zu einer stärkeren Abhängigkeit vom europäischen Markt. Zum Beispiel kostet ein Huhn in Ghana trotz niedrigen Lohnniveaus nach acht Wochen Zucht auf einem Bauernhof 3,60 Euro, und damit ist ein ghanaisches Huhn zirka um 100 Prozent teurer als ein Billigimporthuhn aus der Union.

Was wird das heißen? Für Ghanas Züchter und Bauern wird es unmöglich sein, mit diesen Importpreisen zu konkurrieren. Die werden die Existenzgrundlage zerstören. Und was wird weiterhin passieren? Die Leute werden sich auf den Weg nach Mitteleuropa machen, wo man dann mit einem Mindesteinkommen, mit einer Mindestsicherung von 800 Euro die Hühner nicht mehr auf dem Markt in Accra kaufen wird, sondern im Supermarkt in Berlin oder in Wien.

 
  
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  Adam Szejnfeld (PPE). –Porozumienie o partnerstwie gospodarczym, o którym dzisiaj mówimy, ale w szerszym aspekcie także umów o handlu, o wolnym handlu, o usługach, o inwestycjach, to są przykłady tego, jak kraje dobrze rozwinięte – kraje bogate, takie jak państwa członkowskie Unii Europejskiej – mogą współpracować z innymi biedniejszymi krajami, nie tylko w aspekcie gospodarczym, ekonomicznym, nie tylko po to zawiązywać tego rodzaju umowy, by zwiększać wymianę handlową, ale także po to, by wspierać rozwój swoich partnerów. Ghana – jak wiele innych krajów – to państwo szczególnie zasługujące na wsparcie Unii Europejskiej. Jest to jedno z najlepiej funkcjonujących państw w Afryce, nie tylko pod względem gospodarczym, ale także społecznym, szanujące – jeśli chodzi o kontekst afrykański – społeczeństwo obywatelskie, dbające o zasady demokracji. Mam nadzieję, że będziemy świadkami tego także niebawem, podczas wyborów w tym państwie. Umowa, o której mówimy, na pewno nie jest ideałem, jest bowiem pewnym rozwiązaniem, zresztą czasowym, ale jeśli podejmiemy ją i wdrożymy w życie, na pewno będzie dobrym elementem współpracy między Unią Europejską a Ghaną, a w przyszłości Afryką Zachodnią.

 
  
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  David Martin (S&D). – Madam President, while I of course acknowledge that the interim EPA does not fully meet my Group’s requirements for a free trade agreement – especially given the absence of a trade and sustainable development chapter – as we have just heard, we should remind ourselves that we are talking about Ghana: a vibrant, constitutional democracy, committed to implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, sadly almost an exception in Africa. Plus, this is only an interim EPA which will be applied until the regional one, ECOWAS, comes into force. This is an agreement that the Ghanaian Government and Parliament strongly want, as they believe it is good for their people. In fact, it was ratified unanimously by the 275 Ghanaian MPs, so who are we to say this is not good for them?

The current preferential trade regime MAR is not WTO-compatible and will cease to apply sooner or later. Ghana needs a more stable framework to attract and maintain foreign investment. Ghana does not want to keep the uncertain MAR preferences, does not want to apply for the less-favourable GSP+; they want this agreement, and we should respect their choice. I want to stand by the Ghanaian people, and therefore I will vote for this agreement.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Nicola Caputo (S&D). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, condivido la strategia commerciale dell'Unione europea volta ad aiutare i paesi in difficoltà economica. L'accordo di libero scambio con il Ghana, permetterà allo Stato africano di avere accesso al mercato europeo e la stabilità necessaria per i nuovi investimenti e la creazione di posti di lavoro. Vi è tuttavia da rilevare, la sostanziale inadeguatezza dell'attivazione di un accordo concluso nel 2007, rispetto alle mutate condizioni attuali. L'assenza di una dimensione regionale e di norme in materia di origine, nonché un quadro istituzionale incompleto, fanno di questa intesa una soluzione di ripiego, in attesa di definire il partenariato con l'intera regione dell'Africa occidentale. E proprio in vista di questo partenariato, tengo a sottolineare l'importanza dell'introduzione di misure di salvaguardia, che consentano di ripristinare i dazi nel caso in cui un aumento delle importazioni minacci di perturbare l'economia di un settore, come ad esempio quello ortofrutticolo, troppo spesso sacrificato dagli accordi conclusi con i paesi africani.

 
  
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  Νότης Μαριάς ( ECR). – Κυρία Πρόεδρε, άλλη μια συμφωνία απελευθέρωσης εμπορίου με μια χώρα της Αφρικής, που αυτό σημαίνει διάλυση των αγροτών του ευρωπαϊκού Νότου και ενίσχυση βεβαίως των βιομηχανιών του ευρωπαϊκού Βορρά, που θα εξάγουν προϊόντα. Το λέει άλλωστε και η έκθεση, ότι η Γκάνα εξάγει κυρίως φρούτα και ψάρια. Δεύτερον, στην Γκάνα υπάρχει παιδική εργασία, ιδίως στους τομείς της γεωργίας. Τι εισάγει όμως η Γκάνα; Πλοία, οχήματα, επομένως προϊόντα τα οποία αφορούν τις χώρες του Βορρά, οι οποίες εξάγουν. Από ’κει και πέρα το 35% των ευρωπαϊκών εξαγωγών στην Γκάνα έχουν ήδη απελευθερωθεί. Αυτή είναι η πραγματική κατάσταση. Κι αν θέλουν οι Ευρωπαίοι αγρότες να εξάγουν προς την Γκάνα; Τότε, όπως λέει και η έκθεση, η Γκάνα μπορεί να εξαιρέσει ορισμένα ευαίσθητα γεωργικά προϊόντα.

Τέλος, θα έπρεπε σε τέτοιου είδους συμβάσεις να υπάρχουν και ρυθμίσεις για τα θέματα της μετανάστευσης, να δεσμεύονται οι χώρες αυτές στον τομέα της μετανάστευσης, διότι χιλιάδες υπήκοοί τους έρχονται στην Ευρώπη.

 
  
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  Maria Arena (S&D). – Madame la Présidente, l'accord Ghana qui nous est soumis aujourd'hui a été conclu en 2007 et il a été signé seulement neuf années plus tard.

Pourquoi ce délai si long? Parce que des négociations qui sont des négociations régionales se sont mises en place. Ces négociations régionales intègrent un pays important, le Nigeria, qui est la première puissance économique.

Aujourd'hui, alors que nous devrions mettre toute notre énergie pour aller vers cet accord régional, vous choisissez de privilégier des accords bilatéraux intérimaires tels que celui avec le Ghana.

Ces accords intérimaires, Mme Jude Kirton-Darling, l'a dit, ce sont des accords dépassés. Donc, plutôt que de mettre notre énergie dans des accords dépassés, tels qu'ils nous ont été présentés aujourd'hui, je plaide pour que nous ne votions pas cet accord intérimaire et que nous travaillions pour que l'accord régional puisse aboutir.

Mettons notre énergie dans cet accord régional, plutôt que de le tuer par un accord intérimaire.

 
  
 

(End of catch-the-eye procedure)

 
  
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  Cecilia Malmström, Member of the Commission. – Madam President, I would like to thank the Honourable Members for this debate. I believe that this interim agreement has the potential to provide growth, stability and development for Ghana.

Let us be honest, this is not something that will be of major importance to make the European economy grow. We are not doing this for the European economy. It will have marginal effects on the European economy. We are doing this to support the development, the diversification of the industry and the stability of a country like Ghana, a rare democracy in a region where that is not always the case. Ghana’s commitment to the regional EPA is very strong. They want to integrate and to develop in a transparent manner. As the Foreign Minister, who we have been quoting here today, said in the letter to you, she is very committed to making this happen, and she has already started to work with the civil society organisations and will continue to jointly work with them.

There are indeed alternative options to the EPA that have been voiced, but they are not realistic. They do not provide the same advantages to Ghana as the EPA does. Some of them are not even WTO-compatible. But this agreement is something that Ghana wants. They have chosen it and they have decided on it in a parliamentary vote by their democratically elected Parliament. I am sure you have also read the letter where the Foreign Minister, Ms Tetteh, explains this very clearly.

It is true that we are working on a regional agreement but, as you know, there are some countries blocking this. Why should Ghana be blocked while we are waiting for this to happen? It will happen someday. We are working very hard on it, but we should not punish a country which wants to cooperate with us, which wants to be a close ally and which has chosen this path.

The regional EPA is a way to overcome the challenges regionally. We are working on this. It is of course up to West Africa to decide about the future, but for the moment that agreement is not available. So let us work together for a successful interim bilateral EPA with an important country which wants to engage with us and, at the same time, continue our advocacy, together with the West African regional organisation, for a regional EPA.

Thank you very much for your commitment here and, by the way, Mr Obermayr, chickens are not liberalised in this agreement. Thank you very much for your engagement in this.

 
  
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  Christofer Fjellner, rapporteur. – Madam President, I entered the plenary of the European Parliament, but listening to some colleagues from the S&D on my left, it sounds as if they wish to be members of the Ghanaian parliament instead, as they want to vote against it because they think it’s bad for Ghana. Didn’t you hear the democratically elected Foreign Minister of Ghana saying they think it is good and they want it? Don’t you think that they’re legitimate when taking that decision, or don’t you think they really understand it? Because it has to be one of those two.

And if you win, if you manage to kill this trade agreement, forcing them to meet the tariff wall of the European Union, how can you explain to the poor farmers of Ghana that you thought you were in a better position than their elected representatives to actually choose the destiny of their future? Will you be able to look at yourselves in the mirror after doing that?

 
  
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  President. – The debate is closed.

The vote will take place on Thursday, 1 December 2016.

 
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