Denmark want EAC comply with EU on Economic Partnership Agreements

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Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmid has argued EAC  to conclude a deal with the European Union on the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs), saying it would be of benefit to both parties and “will help integrate the region into the global market.” , as she affirmed Denmark’s support for the EPAs.

This agreement primarily bind trade in goods and fisheries and as a move towards  full  commitment from  both parties to continue negotiations on agriculture, rules of origin, Sanitary and Phyto-sanitary Standards (SPS), Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), customs and trade facilitation (C&TF) and to postpone the discussion on other trade-related rules and trade in services until a later stage.

Among other issues she talked about during her visit to EAC headquarters in Arusha was implementation of the Customs Union and the Common Market protocols; negotiations for the Monetary Union protocol, and potential for renewable energy in the region . Whereas major priorities would be moving the bloc from a customs union to a single customs territory, implementation of the common market, infrastructure development, implementation of the EAC Industrialization Policy, and multi-stakeholder involvement, includes the private sector, civil society, women and youth.

Main features of the framework EPA include Duty free quota free access, Asymmetric and gradual opening of the EAC to EU goods, Trade defense, Rules of Origin, Dispute avoidance and settlement and on fisheries.  

The EAC decided to exclude the following products from liberalization; agricultural products, wines and Spirits, chemicals, plastics, wood based paper, textiles and clothing, footwear, ceramic products, glassware, articles of base metal and vehicles. 

The EAC is embarking on an ambitious and successful regional integration process. In parallel, the EAC has been determined to conclude a full EPA. However, they and the EU remained mindful that the pace of the negotiations is dependent on the on-going EAC integration process which determines the commitments the EAC are ready to take in the EPA process.

 The value of total trade flows between the Eastern African Community and the EU is about €4.3bn (or 0.12% of EU imports), exports to the EU being dominated by a few products such as plants, flowers, coffee, vegetables, fish and tobacco.

EAC Secretary General, Dr Richard Sezibera said that an agreement on the single customs is expected to be reached in 2013, which would lead to a considerable reduction in barriers to trade in the region.

At the end of 2007 the Eastern African Community Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda) agreed a region-to-region interim or “framework” EPA with the EU.

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