Kenya farmers seek to block new EU deal

NAIROBI - Small-scale Kenyan farmers went to court yesterday to try to stop a controversial new trade deal with the European Union that they said perpetuated a "master-servant" relationship with their former colonisers.

NAIROBI - Small-scale Kenyan farmers went to court yesterday to try to stop a controversial new trade deal with the European Union that they said perpetuated a "master-servant" relationship with their former colonisers.

They believe that if new tariff systems proposed in the pact - known as an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) - are implemented, at least 300000 Kenyans will lose their jobs.

"The anticipated EPAs will perpetuate a master-servant relationship because we continue to be producers of primary goods and commodities," said Kenyan lawyer James Orengo, who filed the case on behalf of the farmers and the Kenya Human Rights Commission.

Kenya and 80 other African, Caribbean and Pacific countries have enjoyed preferential trade access to the EU.

But the World Trade Organisation says those rules must be changed to establish a new free trade regime before January 1 2008. The proposed EPAs would open up ACP markets to European goods and services. - Reuters

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