EU TRADE policies are “morally repugnant” and keep African farmers poor and starving, a Tory MP said yesterday.
Tory MP James Cleverly has slammed EU trade policies for discriminating against African farmers
James Cleverly said trade tariffs on imports along with subsidies for European farmers had harmed producers in the developing world for decades.
The MP, whose mother was from Sierra Leone, said he could not understand how anyone who cared about poverty could “with a clear conscience allow this situation to persist”.
He added: “The EU talks fair trade but maintains the most unfair trading practices,” he told a Vote Leave event in London.
“The EU won’t change its damaging policies towards the developing world because it doesn’t see the need to. But Britain isn’t like that.
The EU has slapped expensive tariffs on profitable finished goods such as coffee from Africa
Africa made £1billion less in coffee exports than Germany did in 2014
“We get angry that China makes it impossible for our steel industry to match their artificially low prices, and that this product-dumping puts the livelihood of thousands of Britain’s steel workers at risk.
“Yet that is exactly what the EU has done to farmers in the developing world.”
The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy had long subsidised European farmers to produce too much food, leading to surpluses which made it impossible for African farmers to compete – people who had no welfare state to protect them from hardship.
It also slapped trade tariffs on profitable finished goods from Africa while allowing raw materials like cocoa and coffee beans in tariff-free for European refiners to buy cheaply, process and make money from.
Research in the US found in 2014 that the continent of Africa made just under £1.6billion from coffee exports while Germany made £2.6billion from exporting the drink – despite not growing the crop.
Cocoa beans were imported cheap into Europe to turn into chocolate, and tariffs made “fair trade” chocolate more expensive for consumers who wanted directly to support the growers.
Cleverly has called the trade policy ‘morally repugnant’
“We all love chocolate, but are we really comfortable supporting a regime that so unfairly prevents cocoa producing countries from selling chocolate bars to us at competitive prices?” he asked.
“For decades EU policies have driven African farmers deeper into poverty” – James Cleverly
“These policies contribute to Africa, as a continent, importing over 80 per cent of its food, a continent with an estimated 600 million hectares of uncultivated arable farmland,” he protested.
“A continent with millions of people able to work on the land, yet still unable to feed itself.
“I don’t know about you but the fact that for decades EU policies have driven African farmers deeper into poverty is something I find morally repugnant.”