Lamy forced to drastically amend EBA

Commissioner Lamy’s ‘Everything But Arms” initiative drastically altered in response to European industry concerns

Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy has received formal approval from the Commission to adapt his Everything but Arms (EBA) proposal for approval by the Council. The EBA initiative is designed to give unrestricted duty-free access to the EU for all products, except those relating to the arms industry, from 48 of the world's least developed countries (LDCs).

Mr Lamy was forced to present amended proposals for Commission approval on 17 January in response to the concerns of the farming lobby and some Member States. These focused on the sensitive issue of agricultural products, in particular bananas, sugar and rice.

The practical outcome of this is that the originally envisaged liberalisation transition periods have been drastically amended. For bananas the transition period is now 2002 to 2006. The period for sugar and rice does not even start until 1 October 2006 and is due for completion on 1 October 2009.

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