Delegates from more than 40 nations who now trade with or expect to trade with the European Economic Community, gathered in Lagos, Nigeria on Saturday.
Delegates from more than 40 nations who now trade with or expect to trade with the European Economic Community, gathered in Lagos, Nigeria on Saturday. It was the beginning of as two-day meeting of trade ministers to discuss their common relations with the EEC.
At issue for the mainly African nations (several Caribbean countries were expected to attend) was the renegotiation of the treaty of association between the EEC and its African markets.
The major problem is the division in aims between the countries currently connected with the EEC -- largely the former French colonies -- and the former British colonies at present members of the Commonwealth. The leaders of the former British territories are suspicious of the terms of the Yaounde Convention, which governs the existing association pacts between African states and the EEC.
The convention, and the separate pacts it governs, protects workers, by favouring African produce, but it also protects the European companies who own the plants and plantations. Nigeria, for one, is concerned about the clause giving the EEC rights to set up in competition with native firms. They want to be free to protect domestic industry -- by joint ventures, for example.
Many of the 19 African states already associated want to keep the system of "reverse preferences" -- trade concessions to the EEC by the Africans. But many of the major Commonwealth states want to get away from such preconceptions and negotiate their agreements from scratch. Britain champions the Commonwealth position with the EEC while France pushes the associated states' position.
Setting the tons of the meeting, Major Joe Felli, of the Ghanaian delegation, spoke to a press conference on his arrival in Lagos. A transcription of his remarks on film follows.
On his arrival at the Lagos meeting, the secretary-general of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), Mr. Nzo Ekengaki, said that the future of the Africans lies in their trading strength as a single continental economic bloc. He said the Lagos conference was important beth for the future of the African continent and for the OAU.
The African states and the EEC are to meet in .Brussels July 25, the first contact between the two groups and the forerunner of many months of negotiations.
SYNOPSIS: Delegates from more than forty African states arrived in Lagos, Nigeria on Saturday for two days of meetings on relations with the European Economic Community. Among the first arrivals, Major Joe Felli, of Ghana.
Zaire delegate Mr. Namwizi Makoy was among those who flew in for the talks -- the first by all the African states dealing with Europe.
The meetings were to consider common aims in renegotiating the terms of association between the countries and the Common Markets. Mr. Nze Ekongaki, ???-general of the Organisation of African Unity said the strength of Africa was in trading as a single bloc.
Many former British colonies are taking a firm line on the upcoming negotiations in Brussels. Major Felli set the tone of the Lagos meeting at a press conference.