The European Union (EU) has set a November deadline to conclude long running negotiations with East Africa over the signing of a new economic partnership agreement (EPA). The new deadline followed an unsuccessful round of talks in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania this week aimed at unlocking a stalemate on the signing of a framework on the Economic Partnership Agreement (FEPA). “We didn’t agree and both sides agreed to maintain the status quo as we work towards beating the new November deadline,” said David Nalo, Permanent Secretary at the East African Community (EAC) Affairs Ministry. “It was agreed that signing a framework on the EPA would be an illegality at this stage because the original deadline of July 2009 had lapsed. All negotiations would now be focused on having a comprehensive EPA by November.” Among the sticking issues ahead of this week’s talks had been a demand by EAC states for an enhanced development budget to compensate them for revenue losses expected to result from removal of tariffs on EU imports. The European Commission (EC) has argued that it already disburses a lot of budgetary allocation in development support to the region and will not make additional commitment.Estimates from the Trade ministry reveal that loss of tariff preferences with the shift to GSP would cost Kenya investments worth US$700 million as well as thousands of jobs in the horticulture sector.