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Monday, 09 September 2013

EPAs: East Africa considers diplomatic engagement with EU

The East African Countries (EAC) have agreed to use diplomacy with the European Union (EU) to clear unsolved issues on Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), AllAfrica informs.
The EAC ministers are currently undertaking national consultations on the way the diplomatic engagement with EU will be carried out.  The EAC needs to come up with a common position on several EPA outstanding issues, such as the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) and export taxes.
The EAC fear that if signed, the MFN will block all the signatories to enter into bilateral talks with other partners on areas where the EU does not enjoy preferential terms. Negotiators said the EU has been keen on the clause to shield itself against emerging economies like India and China.
Again, the EAC negotiators have maintained that they need policy flexibility on issues of export tax to allow value addition and industrial development. EU, however, insists on the importance of measures disciplining the use of export taxes in the EPA.
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.
Tanzania and the other four members of the East African Community (EAC) namely Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi are negotiating the agreement through the regional bloc.
Previously it has been decided that the EPAs negotiation between the EU and the African countries to be put on hold until it will be covered at the Africa EU Summit scheduled to be held in April 2014.

Source: AllAfrica