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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Endorse EU pact to benefit East Africa

The signing of a trade pact with the European Union for free market access for East Africa’s horticultural crops about a decade ago significantly improved foreign earnings for the region. Under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), East Africa was granted a duty-free quota market access by the EU in efforts aimed at balancing the skewed terms of trade. The agreement is coming to an end this month and a new one is due by October 1. In the trade agreement, EU treats East Africa as a single trade entity and offers it a common package. However, East Africa is now pulling in different directions. Kenya and Rwanda have signed and committed themselves to the extension of the pact, but the others have not. This is why Deputy President William Ruto yesterday reached out to the other EAC heads of state, during a meeting in Arusha, to sign the deal.