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Thursday, 04 August 2016

East Africa: What Is in EPAs Deal for EAC?

Civil society groups in the East African Community (EAC) have retaliated their call for a review of the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) deal to address all the issues raised by key stakeholders. Rebecca Tanui of Kenya-based CSO, Building Eastern Africa Community Network (BEACON), said maneuvers by Kenya to lobby other states to sign EPAs deal between EAC and European Union should be ignored. She urged EAC member states to first sensitise their citizens on the implications of signing the EPAs and also involve their national parliaments and more stakeholders. Tanui urged Rwanda, Kenya, and Burundi to move cautiously. She added that the pullout of Tanzania and Uganda provides an opportunity for the region to review the deal to ensure EAPs benefit the masses. The EAC bloc was slated to sign the EPAs deal with the EU in the first week of October. The EPAs provide for EAC exports access to European markets duty-free and quota-free, while the European Union access to EAC market provides for a "gradual liberalisation of tariffs" over three phases spanning 25 years. EPAs will replace the African, Caribbean and Pacific-European Union Partnership Agreement (ACP-EU) signed in June 2000 in Cotonou, Benin.

Source: allafrica.com