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EU trade deal with SADC unlikely in 2010

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Thursday, 04 November 2010

EU trade deal with SADC unlikely in 2010

 SADC's hope for a conclusion of negotiations on a new economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) before December is fizzling out as new demands from the EU threaten to scupper chances of a new trade pact. Sourhern African Development Community  countries are currently trading with the EU on preferential terms without legal backing following the expiry of the old trade deal in 2008. African states have been negotiating for a new trade pact with the EU since 2002 when the Cotonou Agreement ended. Negotiations have stalled, first with the SADC countries rejecting an initial draft which they argued are heavily tilted in favour of the EU. Annascy Mwanyagapo, Director of International Trade in Namibia's Ministry of Trade and Industry expressed doubt that a pact would be sealed soon. In any case, Mwanyagapo told The Southern Times that the EU indicated at the negotiators' last meeting in Johannesburg early this month that 'time is not of essence' as it tries to push through a raft of new generation issues such as government procurement, services, competition policy and intellectual property rights. Insistence by the EU on the new generation issues clause could scupper chances of parties ever reaching an agreement.

Source: southerntimesafrica.com