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Thursday, 20 October 2011

EPA ratification: seminar for Zimbabwean Members of Parliament

On 13-14 October 2011 the European Union organized an information seminar in Harare, Zimbabwe, upon request of the Zimbabwean Parliament. The seminar addressed the EU-Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), now tabled for discussion and ratification in the Zimbabwean Parliament. Participants included Members of the Zimbabwean Parliament, representatives of the Ministry of Commerce and of the private sector.

With a value of around €270 million (22%) of total Zimbabwean exports in 2010, the EU is the main export partner of the country. Main exports include sugar, tobacco, raw minerals (including ferro-alloys and building stones) and horticultural products (fresh cut flowers).

The seminar addressed all aspects of the trade and development agreement signed by Zimbabwe in 2009, such as exclusion lists, infant industry protection, rules of origin, etc. It provided for a platform for debate not only between the EU and its Zimbabwean counterparts, but also between Zimbabwean stakeholders and policy-makers.

In compliance with Zimbabwean law, the EPA will have to be ratified by both Chambers of the Parliament, followed by the Presidential signature of the ratification act. Zimbabwe indicated that the procedures should be completed before the end of 2011.

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