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Monday, 22 August 2016

East Africa's EU trade agreement in peril

An intercontinental game of chess is playing out in East Africa and it appears that Tanzania and Uganda are holding Kenya to ransom. For the last decade the East African Community (EAC) and the EU have been negotiating an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) that would allow tariff and quota free trading between the two trading blocs. The EAC is made up of five member states: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. South Sudan’s application to join the EAC was accepted in April but there is still a lot of paperwork to be done before it becomes a full member. The EAC is currently a common market, which allows for goods and services to be traded between the five countries free of any tariffs or quotas, as well as free movement of labour and capital. The EPA deal between the EAC and the EU was agreed to by all member states in October 2014 and was to be signed and ratified in August 2016. Kenya played its first move this year when it tried to rush the EAC members into signing the deal early on July 18, seemingly to coincide with the visit of the EU Commissioner for Trade who was in Nairobi for the UN Conference on Trade and Development.

Source: iol.co.za