The European Union (EU) has urged Malawi to reconsider its stance on the Extended Partnership Agreement (EPAs) as the current position denies the country an opportunity to benefit from European markets.
EPAs are a reciprocal free trade agreements between the EU and 39 APC countries that require them to open up their markets to EU states.
EU head of delegation Alexander Baum in an interview said former president the late Bingu wa Mutharika made a wrong decision not to sign the free trade agreement.
â€œIt seems the former administration did not understand the agreement and did not see any need to sign it, but that was not the right decision.
â€œMalawiâ€™s neighbours are benefiting from European markets. If Malawi is to really turn into a predominantly exporting country, then this is the right opportunity,â€ he said.
He said although Malawi is reluctant to sign the trade deal, it stands to benefit more than Europe from the agreement
â€œIf we look at the situation, Malawi only takes about 0.01 percent of goods from Europe while Europe takes almost 30 percent of Malawiâ€™s products,â€ argued Baum.
Minister of Industry and Trade John Banda, commenting on the issue, said: â€œThe stand by Malawi regarding EPAs is that development should be at the heart of the negotiations as Malawi is one of the countries facing supply side constraints which have had an impact of Malawiâ€™s competitiveness.â€