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EU Trade Commissioner on visit to Kenya, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa

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Monday, 15 July 2013

EU Trade Commissioner on visit to Kenya, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa

From 15 to 19 July 2013, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will be traveling to four African countries: Kenya (part of the Eastern African Community, EAC) and Namibia, Botswana, South Africa (members of the Southern African Development Community, SADC).
De Gucht will use this opportunity to discuss ways to strengthen trade and investment relations with the African regions, in particular through comprehensive trade and development partnerships.
"Sub-Saharan Africa is now one of the fastest growing regions in the world, while the EU, with 500 million consumers, is the biggest market in the world. There are great opportunities to be seized on both sides”, said Commissioner Karel De Gucht.
The Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that the EU has been negotiating with EAC and the SADC group since 2003 aim to consolidate countries’ free access to the EU market, foster trade-related cooperation and promote investment. Those agreements aim to ensure duty free, quota free access to EU market, along with other provisions (e.g. on health and hygiene standards, and other trade-related rules) tailored to the needs of the ACP countries.
Trade between the EU and South Africa is currently governed by the Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) signed in 1999.
Kenya negotiates an EPA with the EU as a member of the East African Community, along with Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. The EU is Kenya's biggest trading partner, accounting for around 25% of the country’s total exports - over €1 billion a year. EU-Kenya reciprocal trade in goods has continued to grow in recent years, reaching more than €2.5 billion in 2012. Kenya's main exports to the EU are fresh cut flowers, tea, coffee and vegetables, mainly peas and beans.
Botswana, Namibia and South Africa are negotiating a regional Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU as part of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) EPA Group, which also includes Angola, Lesotho, Mozambique and Swaziland.
By implementing an Economic Partnership Agreement with the EU, Botswana and Namibia can maintain duty-free, quota-free access to the EU market. The deadline for completion of negotiation was set to October 2014.

Source: European Commission