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Tuesday, 08 January 2013

EAC calls for EPAs with EU, under Kenyan pressure

The East Africa Community wants the signing of an economic partnership deal (EPA) with the European Union to be in step with regional integration in order to avoid upsetting the common market protocol and customs union.
Kenya is particularly under pressure to sign EPAs because it is in a different trade band from its counterparts in the trade bloc- it is categorised as Developing Country while other East African Community member states are categorised as Least Developed States.
Kenya’s current trade with EU is carried out under the Generalised System of Preferences agreements that has restricted a number of goods that have duty free status while the rest are under the Everything But Arms tier that enables them to export all that meets EU market standards.
“It is only Kenya that has issues because of its developing country status. Others are in the Least Developed Countries and have duty and quota free access to the EU market. If Kenya goes ahead and signs the EPAs, this has implications on the common market protocol and customs union with the EAC states,” said Ms Aileen Kwa of South Centre, an inter-governmental policy think tank of developing countries.
The new twist comes even as the EU makes fresh demands like governance in tax matters, environment and sustainable development that experts say could further delay the conclusion of negotiations.


Source: bilarerals.org