Maputo — Mozambique's Minister of Industry and Trade, Armando Inroga, has expressed opposition to the demands made by the European Union that Mozambique must satisfy in order to export fisheries produce to Europe.
Inroga warned that the impositions of the EU are such that they could kill the Mozambican fishing industry.
He was speaking in Brussels at the Africa-European Union Business Forum, which precedes the summit of African and European leaders due to begin on Wednesday.
The European Commission demands three conditions that must all be met before fisheries produce from Mozambique can be regarded as Mozambican, Inroga said. “First the ship must be flying the Mozambican flag, second the boats must be owned at least 50 per cent by Mozambican, and third the produce must be fished within Mozambican territorial waters”.
Inroga argued that, for a country such as Mozambique which is only beginning to make its first major investments in fisheries, meeting these three conditions would make the fishing industry uncompetitive for the European market.
This session of the Business Forum is occurring at a time when negotiations over the controversial Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) between the EU and the countries of the Africa, Caribbean and Pacific group (ACP) are virtually concluded. The deadline for the EPAs to take effect is 1 October. Mozambique signed an interim EPA in 2009, despite the persistence of some disagreements.
Inroga stressed that duty free access to the European market is not enough: there must also be increased European investment in African countries in order to ensure greater balance in the trade between the two continents.
He added that the development of Africa must also involve industrialization and the encouragement of trade between African countries. Africa should not rely exclusively on the export of primary products, such as minerals, but must also sell goods that incorporate added value.
“All the stakeholders are aware of this”, Inroga told reporters. “This forum brings together not only government representatives but also the private sector. Investors from the Middle East, Asia and Europe are bringing their experience of how they have been doing business in various African countries.
They present Africa as a promising continent for the 21st century”.
At the summit, which Mozambican President Armando Guebuza will attend, the African and European leaders are expected to discuss peace and security, investment, climate change, migration and advances since the last summit held in Libya in 2010.