Representatives of developing nations form Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific are meeting minutes of the European Economic Community (EEC) to hammer out future trade and aid agreements.
Representatives of developing nations form Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific are meeting minutes of the European Economic Community (EEC) to hammer out future trade and aid agreements. Trade ministers form more than 40 countries - mostly in Africa - gathered in Brussels on Tuesday (17th October) for talks which may go on for several months.
Some of the EEC's objectives were not clear at the start of the meeting. A preliminary conference of the Community's Ministers on Monday (16th October) failed to agree on several major points, the most prominent being the question of reverse preference. This is the principle of demanding trading concessione from the developing nations in return for free access for their exports to the EEC countries. Neither could they reach a joint position on proposals to offer the developing nations guaranteed prices for some key raw materials.
The EEC ministers also failed to agree on firm policy on food aid. Notwithstanding these drawbacks, the Europeans want into the negotiations confident of some progress. This meeting, if successfully concluded, could result in a vast trading bloc, extending across two continents.
The countries taking part in the talked are mainly the French-speaking African countries already associated with the EEC under the Yaounds Convention. Their fellow participants are members of the British Commonwealth from Africa, the Caribbean, and the Pacific, already linked the EEC because of Britain's membership. They were expected to oppose the principle of EEC trading concessions, as they did in a preparatory session for this meeting last July. Zaire's delegate has been selected as President of the African Nations' Council of Ministers, and all policy statements by the developing nations are expected to be made through Zaire's representatives.