1607 Working Group News on Trade – July 2016

  1.       The European Union’s trade deal with Burundi might suffer some delays

Belgian socialist MP Marie Arena is on a campaign to stop the signing of a trade deal with Burundi citing human rights violations in that country. The Trade Committee of the European parliament has given the green light for the signing of an economic partnership agreement with five countries in east and central Africa including Burundi. Burundi is said to have violated the Cotonu agreement signed in 2000 recognising human rights as an essential component of the Europe-Africa partnerships.


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      2.      Southern African EPA

As it was expected the Southern African EPA was voted last 14th July by the Trade committee of the European Parliament (INTA). The next step is the votes by the plenary assemble of the European Parliament on 13 September. In the meantime the ratification process in Southern Africa is also on its way: the Namibian Parliament ratified on Thursday 7 July, Botswana negotiators have submitted the SADC EPA to the Attorney General Chambers to prepare the instrument for ratification, in South Africa the Parliament is expected to conclude in August and in Swaziland, the cabinet authorised the Foreign Minister to deposit the instrument of ratification. 


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      3.      Monitoring the SADC EPA

The European Commission has started to map those African civil society organisations that would be interested in being involved in the monitoring and implementation of the SADC EPA. So far the Commission has established a list of more than 90 organisations which probably will be trimmed down. The EU will invite South African civil society organisations to discuss the EPA, sometime late August (provisional date set for 22 August).


       4.      Kenya flower exporters to face taxes after Tanzania pulls out


Tanzania has inhibited the ability of Kenya to trade without restrictions with the EU by breaking a trade agreement between these African countries. It also has driven Kenya to have heavy taxes (between 8 and 12%) if they want to export their products to the EU. This decision can also mean that 600,000 flower farmers and fresh food producers have to find a new job out of this business. Tanzania’s Permanent Secretary for foreign Affairs, Aziz Mlima, said that his country would not accept the agreement because of the problems that the Brexit could cause.


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