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AlterPresse | Tuesday 30 September 2008
Haiti/EPA : Haitian social organizations welcome the refusal of Haiti to sign the EPA
Position of Haitian social and popular organizations following the outcome of the Fourteenth Meeting of CARIFORUM Heads of State and Government on the EPA
Translated from French by Charles Arthur for the Haiti Support Group 
Transmitted to AlterPresse on September 29, 2008
The letter below was sent to the President of the Republic of Haiti, His Excellency René Préval, after Haiti and Guyana declined to sign the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) document at the XIV Meeting of CARIFORUM Heads of State held in Barbados on 10 September.
The Haitian organisations signing this letter believe it is imperative to continue with the mobilization so that Haiti remains part of the growing group which rejects the pressure being applied by the European Union for CARIFORUM members to sign the document at the next meeting, scheduled for 15 October in Barbados.
The Haitian population has participated in the major mobilization launched by the national coalition, ’BARE EPA (Block the EPA)’, and continues to express its rejection of the agreement which will only worsen the already very precarious and fragile situation of the majority of the population.
Port-au-Prince, 22 September 2008
Son Excellence René Garcia PREVAL
Président de la République d’Haïti
Subject: Position of Haitian social and popular organizations following the outcome of the Fourteenth Meeting of CARIFORUM Heads of State and Government on the EPA
The signatories of this correspondence are pleased to learn of the results of the Fourteenth Meeting of CARIFORUM Heads of State and Government held on 10 September 2008 in Barbados. We want to commend the position taken by the Republic of Haiti in relation to the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) document.
Both official and unofficial documents published after this meeting mention the refusal of the Republic of Haiti to sign the EPA as it stands now. The Haitian delegation presented arguments concerning:
Regional preferences, especially in relation to the Dominican Republic;
The crucial question of prioritizing the development dimension; and;
Anomalies concerning market access in relation to the level of tariffs that underpin the process of liberalization.
We think it is a position of principle that deserves to be encouraged, despite the fact that there are still more concerns to be raised about these negotiations. We are convinced that our country should adopt a position of refusal because of the consequences of accelerated liberalization which have dominated the policy of our governments since the late ’80s.
We hope, Mr. President, that the Republic of Haiti continues to oppose this agreement, as requested by the Haitian people through its organized structures, such as the National Coalition BARE EPA, which has orchestrated a campaign of mobilization and advocacy since the beginning of 2007 until today. We attach a copy of the declaration, signed by several Haitian organizations, submitted to the Minister of CARIFORUM at the XV Summit held in October 2007 in Haiti, to the European Union, to Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis, and to several Parliamentarians. During the last quarter of last year, the camp rejecting the EPAs has grown stronger as a result of the opposition of several ACP Governments, and the impasse in negotiations between EU countries and various regions of Latin America (Andean region, Central America and MERCOSUR). Many reports on the issue, such as those by French National Assembly Deputy Christine TAUBIRA at the request of the President of the French Republic, corroborate our analysis and conclusions.
We believe that the country should take advantage of this momentum to develop, with the participation of all segments of the country, a national development strategy that takes into account all the fundamental demands of the Haitian people. The plan should also provide an overall strategy for the participation of our country in all international negotiations in accordance with the agreed objectives.
In the same vein, Excellency, Mr. President, the signatories want to meet you - on a date and at a time and place that suits you best, as we did20in October 2007 with Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis. This meeting would be an opportunity for us to present the views of social and popular organizations, and their analysis and recommendations on issues such as negotiations in the framework of the EPA and CARICOM, as well as the World Trade Organization (WTO).
While expressing to you, Mr. President, our satisfaction on learning of the position adopted by the Haitian Government on 10 September, and believing that your Government will retain the just position of refusing to sign the EPA during the forthcoming meeting between the representatives of the European Union and CARIFORUM scheduled for 15 October, we urge you to accept our patriotic greetings.
Camille CHALMERS, Plateforme Haïtienne de Plaidoyer pour un Développement Alternatif (PAPDA)
Pierre ESPERANCE, Réseau National de Défense des Droits des Haïtiens (RNDDH)
Carole PIERRE PAUL JACOB, Solidarite Fanm Ayisyèn (SOFA)
Marc-Arthur FILS-AIME, Institut Culturel Karl Levêque (ICKL)
Guy NUMA, Mouvement Démocratique et Populaire (MODEP)
Léronel MORTIME, Organisation Populaire pour une Education Populaire (CHANDEL)
Osnel JEAN-BAPTISTE, Tèt Kole Ti Peyizan Ayisyen (TKTP)
Dugué AINE, Kòdinasyon Òganizasyon Pwodiktè Peyizan Nò ak Nòdès (KOPWONÒ)