The TUC helped develop a joint statement with trade unions in the EU and Africa flagging concerns with the trade deals known as Economic Partnership Agreements that the EU has been negotiating with regions in Africa and the UK is now replicating in its trade negotiations with African regions. Trade unions in the UK, EU and Africa are calling jointly for such agreements to be rejected as they compel African countries to reduce tariffs on key industries which will displace good jobs and reduce domestic revenue needed for development. This will increase gender inequality as women are disproportionately likely to be forced into informal employment by this process. T
he Economic Partnership Agreements also involve to enforceable commitments to labour rights or protections for public services. Trade unions in the UK, EU and Africa are calling for the UK and EU to continue providing African regions with preferential access to their markets on a unilateral basis – on the condition of respect for ILO standards - rather than requiring these countries to sign damaging trade deals.
TUC Aid is currently running a project with trade unions in East Africa to expand their capacity to influence trade negotiations and prevent damaging Economic Partnership Agreements being implemented in East Africa.
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