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Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Kenya asks for time for EAC members “to reach consensus”

According to an article published by the ACP Press service, Kenya recently  appealed to the EU to give the East African Community (EAC) states more time to come up with a unified position on trading with Europe under the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA). As CTA Brussels was informing several weeks ago, former Tanzanian president Benjamin Mkapa noted that there are three options on the table for the EACs to choose from, the first one being Kenya alone to sign the EPA. However it would have a “devastating effect” on the EAC Customs Union. Second and third option option would be  EAC members to sign the EPA or walk away from it. Last week,  Kenyan prime Minister Raila Odinga said the country stood to lose heavily in the current arrangement because all the other EAC states enjoy Least Developed Country (LDC) status, earning their goods duty free access to Europe."We are keen on an arrangement that allows us to negotiate with Europe as a community and not as individual states,” he said.
In the course of a meeting with President of the European Commission last week, Jose Manueal Barroso, Mr. Odinga asked for time “to sort out differences, and reach consensus". The EAC member states are negotiating the Economic Partnership Agreement, a new trade arrangement to replace the non-reciprocal trade preferences granted under the 2000 Cotonou Agreement.
Kenyan prime Minister said that while Kenya supports the aim of EPA’s, it is uneasy with any arrangement that will apply duties to Kenyan exports while leaving other EAC countries duty free.

Source: ACP