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EU seals free trade deal with West Africa

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Monday, 10 February 2014

EU seals free trade deal with West Africa

Negotiators from the European Union and West Africa have come to a €42 billion-a-year free trade agreement after 10 years of haggling, but negotiations are still ongoing with East African states.
The agreement, which covers trade and development cooperation, will guarantee West African nations full long-term duty and quota-free access to the EU market. When it will be enforced, it will eclipse bilateral interim agreements with Côte d'Ivoire and Ghana.
All the Ecowas countries, except Nigeria, are classified as Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and thus can already export anything excluding weapons to Europe, without facing costly tariffs or quotas. But this status quo will now be ring-fenced and extended, with a door opening to free market access. 
The East Africa Community (EAC) countries have been more hesitant to ink a trade agreement guaranteeing Europe preferential market access  t since other powers such as China are increasingly focused on the region.

Source : EurActiv