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EPAs: EU wants Kenya to lead

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Monday, 05 August 2013

EPAs: EU wants Kenya to lead

In the middle of July, European Commissioner for Trade, Karel de Gucht, was in Nairobi (Kenya) to drum up momentum for Kenya to quickly lead in signing the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA), the electronic version of AllAfrica writes.
Kenya is one of the member states of the East African Community(EAC), with which the EU has been negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements since 2004. To date, none of the five EAC countries has signed the comprehensive agreement, meant to define the trade relations with the Europe for decade to come.
Recently, however, the EAC Secretariat disclosed that negotiations were coming to a close. The EU has also reportedly backed down on some provisions.
Before flying out to Nairobi, De Gucht stressed there is no time to waste on the Comprehensive Economic Partnership agreement negotiations between the EU and the EAC. While in Nairobi, he said Kenya's good export figures are largely result of free access to the EU's market, granted by a temporary instrument pending Kenya’s (EAC’s) ratification of the interim EPA that the group signed in 2007.
"But if we want this success story to continue; we need to go further. The full Economic Partnership Agreement we are currently negotiating would not only make Kenya's existing free access to the EU market permanent. It would also deepen our trade relations in a host of areas, by reducing trade barriers, simplifying customs procedures, and by improving trade-related cooperation." he said.

Source: All Africa