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Delayed EU trade accord hurts SA fishing

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Monday, 10 June 2013

Delayed EU trade accord hurts SA fishing

With a trade agreement (EPA) between South Africa and the European Union (EU) still being negotiated, the country could miss the boat on taking advantage of the EU’s move to reduce fishing in its waters to save dwindling fish stocks.
A gap has emerged in the EU fish market because the bloc has agreed to end overfishing in its waters by 2015 — 2020 for some exceptional species — after fish stocks had dwindled precariously.
South Africa has an already established European market for its sustainably managed deep-water trawler-caught hake (this species is South Africa’s only fish stock with the sought-after Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accreditation indicating its operations ensured sustainable fish stocks), but high export tariffs are a hurdle to the country’s other fish.
Department of Trade and Industry trade division chief Xavier Carrim said at the weekend there was "a deal in the making" for South Africa’s fish, but that it formed part of the long-negotiated economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the EU. Without that agreement, EU import tariffs for other species of fish caught in South African waters were high. "Steady progress" on securing the EPA  are going on, with the next talks in two weeks’ time, officials assured.
South Africa is currently negotiating as part of the SADC EPA Group (composed also of Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland). Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique agreed an Interim region-to-region EPA with the EU in 2007, but the South Africa did not join the agreement because of a series of disagreements on some of the provisions of the text. In the meantime EU - South Africa trade is covered by the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) signed in 1999, and not by the Cotonou Agreement, as is the case for the other ACP countries.

Source: BD Live