One of the reasons the developing world continues to be challenged economically (though it has made great strides, especially in Africa) is because rich countries fear opening their markets to the “south.”
The EU likes to present itself as a global force for good, fostering aid and development in the world’s poorest societies. It boasts of its £12 billion aid program and calls itself “the most generous donor in the world.” It truly believes itself to be a kindlier world power than the United States, Russia, or China.
As ever with the EU, the truth is much uglier. Eurosceptics have long known of the EU’s practice of dumping subsidized agricultural products on developing countries, especially Africa. In a rare case of progress, the EU now spends considerably less on these, and WTO members – including the EU – finally agreed to end export subsidies in 2015.
In 2014, Germany earned more from coffee exports than all of Africa combined.
There are, however, many other ways in which the EU stunts the development of poorer countries. Take its tariff regime, which sets higher tariffs for more processed products. Raw coffee beans, for instance, can be exported to the EU tariff-free, while roasted coffee is subject to a 7.5 percent tariff. If the coffee is decaffeinated, the tariff rises to 9 percent. The same goes for chocolate – cacao beans have no tariff, but chocolate bars are subject to a 30 percent tariff.
This is no accident. It is designed to stop countries such as Ethiopia and Ghana processing their own produce and then exporting it, which EU leaders fear would threaten the lucrative food industry in Europe.