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Africa: No EPAs to be signed until April 2014

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Monday, 05 August 2013

Africa: No EPAs to be signed until April 2014

African regions should refrain from signing the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the EU until the next Africa-EU Summit, scheduled for April 2014 – this was the decision reached at the beginning of August in Libreville (Tanzania), during an EPA Negotiations Coordination Meeting organized by the African Union (AU), according to Tanzania’s ambassador to the EU, Dr. Diodorus Kamala - as cited by the Daily News Online from Tanzania.
The EPAs are thus to be included in the agenda of the Africa-EU Summit, and an assessment of impact on the Eastern African Community (EAC) – Southern African Development Community (SADC) should be then carried out.
Especially certain divergent areas need more in-depth analysis and discussion, according to the AU. These are: the most favored nation clause, the agricultural subsidies in the EU, development finance for the EPAs, and the rules of origin.
The meeting is reported to have also requested the EU to consider the possibility for providing for Africa a non-reciprocal trade agreement, as it has done for the neighboring countries of Moldova, and the ones in the Western Balkans, in order to support its economic development.
Moreover, EU should be urged to offer all but arms market access (the most favorable regime) to all least developed countries, as well as Regional Economic Communities, and should refrain from using sanitary barriers to trade with the EU, the meeting heard.

Five African regions are currently negotiating EPAs with the EU. These are: EAC, SADC, West Africa (ECOWAS), Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA), and Central Africa.

Source: Daily News Online