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South africa signs Trade Cooperation With EC

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Tuesday, 28 June 2005

South africa signs Trade Cooperation With EC

South Africa and the European Commission (EC) have signed an additional protocol on trade cooperation to continue the existing relations between the two.
The additional protocol to the Trade, Development and Co-operation Agreement (TDCA) provides for customs unions and free trade areas; extending the agreement to ten more European Union (EU) member states to bring the total to 25.
The signing by Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mpahlwa and his counterparts from the Netherlands and EC took place at a meeting President Thabo Mbeki held with EC President Jose Manuel Barroso here yesterday.
Presidents Mbeki and Barroso engaged in discussions "on critical matters" such as the outcome of the forthcoming G-8 Summit in Gleneagles in Scotland next month, the situation in Zimbabwe and peace and security in Africa.
Mr Mbeki said he indicated to Mr Barroso what the African community expected from the G-8 summit. "We are counting much on the support of the European Commission and the European Union," said Mr Mbeki.
He added that Africa relied much on the EU's experience in addressing issues of poverty and development. He mentioned that bilateral relations were working very well between South Africa and the EU, adding that they were looking at ways of expanding them.
Commenting on the recent "domestic tribal squabbles" regarding the EU's budget and French and Dutch rejection of the body's constitution, Mr Mbeki said he did not think the problems would impact on Africa. "President Barroso is committed to progress and development of Africa regardless of issues of trade, I have maintained a regular contact with heads of states who are part of the EU, so whatever might be happening within EU, I do not think it will have an impact on Africa," said Mr. Mbeki.
President Barroso said the union was re-affirming its commitment to Africa adding that they would continue supporting Africa. "South Africa is a very essential partner of the EU, we will closely support South Africa in its efforts to fight poverty," said Mr Barroso.
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