A high-level forum of the African Caribbean, Pacific (ACP) states has opened in Nairobi, Kenya, to discuss international trade policies and the weak links in the international trading system.
The meeting of the 54 ACP member states is discussing the continuing liberalisation of trade in the region through the undertaking of policy actions and the improvement of the trade infrastructure.
“The High-level meeting is discussing trade policies on the basis of internationally-agreed protocols and agreements and will equally address the supply side constraints such as weak infrastructure and high transport costs, weak capacity for trade administration and support services,” the Kenyan foreign ministry said in a statement Tuesday.
Kenya is hosting the ACP forum meeting in Nairobi from 11 to 14 September amid recent efforts to kick start stalled global trade talks, especially the Doha Round, which most African states see as the best option to creating a favourable trade environment for all countries.
There have been complaints over the unfair global trading practices which limit the exports of key African commodities such as cotton and the flooding of the continent with cheap food aid.
These, added to the other classification of the African continent’s 54 countries as least developed and developing and allowing them access to the rich European markets, have been contentious issues.
African states also point out the need to balance trade with Europe, where most fresh African produce are faced with barriers and roundly rejected over stringent import rules.
“The ACP has enabled member countries to record impressive progress on the path to multilateralism,” the Kenyan foreign ministry said.