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SADC scrambles to meet EU trade deadline

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Wednesday, 05 June 2013

SADC scrambles to meet EU trade deadline

Trade ministers from Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states met in Gaborone (Botswana) at the end of May, as part of the effort to thrash out the comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union ahead of next year’s 1st October deadline.
The southern African states want to fast-track discussions, with the intention of reaching a common point on the EPA by June this year.
Ministers mentioned the possibility of reaching for a compromise within the group, in order to ensure that the interests of all member states are taken care of.
Officials have said that various issues remain unsolved and still have to be negotiated. These concern especially the rules of origin, infant industry protection and the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clause. SADC states are believed to be particularly eager to ensure that the benefits of the MFN, which the EU currently applies to South Africa, are spread across all members under the inclusive EPA to be signed.
The SADC member states have been negotiating reciprocal EPAs with the EU since 2007, a process delayed by numerous political and technical glitches over the years.
Source: bilaterals.org