EAC still optimistic EPAs deal is possible before October 1 deadline

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By Agencies

Kenya is optimistic that the East African Community (EAC) can sign the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union within the next two weeks.

The trading bloc has until September 30 to sign the deal or lose the preferential export market access its partner states have enjoyed for decades.

However, Kenya is under intense pressure to meet the October 1 deadline for the signing of the long-term trade treaty because it does not enjoy market access given to all poor countries under the Everything-But-Arms (EBA) affirmative clause.

Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi are all classified by as poor countries and will therefore continue to enjoy market access under EBA. They will however lose out on other benefits envisioned under the EPAs treaty.


EPAs deal with the European Union suffer setback as trade officials call for close scrutiny

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By Agencies

The Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) deal between African countries and the European Union (EU) has suffered a major blow after African trade ministers called for review of the proposed deal.

This new development came after Nigeria took a differing position with other countries who have concluded comprehensive EPAs with the EU.

Nigeria that is the largest economy in West Africa says the trade liberalisation deal with the European Union under the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) will have a long-term negative impact on the continent's efforts towards industrialisation and job creation

African Ministers of Trade and experts in trade and regional integration agreed with Nigeria’s position during the Extra-ordinary Session of the Conference of African Union Ministers of Trade in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The meeting was convened to discuss Africa's common position ahead of the October 1 deadline for signing of the EPA with the EU; the establishment of the Common Free Trade Area (CFTA) by 2015.


Kenya holds key to unlock EPA negotiations between EAC and EU

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By Fridah Nkibuga and


The European Union (EU) may conclude an Economic Partnership Agreement with the East African Community (EAC) should Kenya cede ground at the next round of talks later this month.

Kenyan negotiations have hinted that they might relax their position on the three outstanding issues to enable the region to sign a comprehensive agreement before October 1 deadline.

“Kenya has a position. We need to convince EAC at our internal meeting on May 20 to take a flexible approach. EAC will request EU to do the same,” Mr Peter Mwaniki, Kenya’s lead negotiator told a forum on trade and investment between Kenya and Europe, in Nairobi recently.

“We have agreed on six out of the nine outstanding issues, and will work hard to meet the deadline.”


EU seek President Kenyatta’s help to conclude EPAs negotiations

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By JK Mwangi and Agencies

The European Union is reaching out to President Uhuru Kenyatta to assist unlock and conclude on the on-going Economic partnership Agreements (EPAs) negotiations with the East African Community (EAC) partner states.

The European Union Delegation in Kenya, Lodewijk Briet met President Uhuru Friday a few days after negotiators from both sides met in Nairobi in an attempt to conclude the negotiations that should have concluded several years back.

Sources say President Kenyatta who is also the chairman of the EAC decision-making organs and Mr Briet discussed a wide range of bilateral and multilateral issues, mainly centering on EPAs.

During the talks, President Kenyatta called for increased trade between Kenya and the European Union in addition to aid.


EU and EAC could conclude EPAs negotiations by May 2014

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By Agencies

The EU and the East African Community (EAC) have managed to strike out important sticking points in their bilateral talks during the on-going Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) negotiations.

The Most Favoured Nation (MFN) clause, Rules of Origin (RoOs), and finally some parts of the agriculture chapter seem to have been resolved at technical level.

The MFN clause has reportedly been settled, using language reducing the automatic nature of the extension of concessions and placing the burden of proof on the European Commission (EC).

Most importantly, the agreement now privileges a “case by case” approach. It is not yet clear whether “major trading partners” have been defined, as was the case in West Africa, or if the “case by case approach” has been sufficient to assuage the EAC’s concerns.

Rules of Origins are now finalised, including remaining product-specific rules. The principles of asymmetry and cumulation, which had been controversial in the past, are also resolved.


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