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EAC- EU economic agreement negotiations

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Thursday, 07 February 2013

EAC- EU economic agreement negotiations

Concern has been raised over Economic Partnership Agreements (EPA) negotiations between the East African Community and European Union, with regional leaders insisting that they must meet regional development priorities.
Members of the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala) affirm that negotiators should have policy space and flexibility on issues of export taxes and the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) Clause, among others, to allow for value-addition and enhance industrial development.
Legislators want a number of areas critically looked into, as the Rules of Origin, institutional arrangements, dispute settlements and final provisions as well as market issues. The Eala also recommends the EU to support the region to develop infrastructure such as energy, roads and railways so as to address supply constraints. It says the issue shall address the region’s supply side constraints and trade predictability.
The chairman of the EAC Council of Ministers, Mr Shem Bageine, said while the region was looking for a market for its raw materials, imports from Europe were largely finished products, thus rendering the EAC net importers.“We must be very cautious and focused. We should be looking at areas where we have comparative advantages so that we compete favourably on the world market – calling for investments in natural resources”, the minister remarked.
At the end of 2007, six States in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region (Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe) concluded an interim EPA with the EU. The agreement was signed by four countries (Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe) in August 2009 in Mauritius and is provisionally applied since 14th of May 2012. This deal is a stepping stone towards a full EPA and remains open to other countries willing to join at a later stage.

Source: The Citizen