Trade News - January 2013

New Measuresof Pressure

            On  December 11th the EU’s Council eventually adopted its favorable position on Market Access Regulation 1528. This proposal withdraw valuable market access from those countries which haven’t ratified or taken steps towards Economical Partnership Agreement (EPA) implementation by January 2014. This is particularly relevant for Botswana, Cameroon, Fiji, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Namibia and Swaziland which are not Least Developed Countries.

            The Market Access Regulation 1528 grants duty-free-quota-free access to EU markets to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries which have initialed an interim EPA. The threat of losing preferential market access will increase pressure on ACP countries to ratify their EPAs. As of date, there are numerous contentious issues which must be addressed for ACP countries to build resilient economies, pursue development and tackle poverty. "The Council's text adds Zimbabwe to the list of beneficiary countries, given that Zimbabwe has notified the deposit of its instrument of ratification for the interim EPA between the Eastern and Southern African States and the EU.”

            The interim EPA are un-amended, containing many recognized contentious issues. The current form of interim EPAs is putting Africa’s development prospects at risk.


European Parliament Committee on Trade in favor of the ESA iEPA

The Trade Committee of the European Parliament voted in favour of the Eastern and Southern Africa Countries (ESA) interim EPA last Decemebr 18th. The iEPA will now be send to the Plenary session of the European Parliament for a final vote. The committee voted in favorfor the interim EPA between the EU and four countries (Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe) from the Eastern and Southern African region.  

            Interim EPAs are incomplete and contain several provisions that the ESA countries themselves consider inadequate. As interim agreements they were meant to be provisional and not to be consolidated. The Commission insisted that they should be replaced by more comprehensive EPAs.

            This interim EPA has been presented to the European Parliament for consent while both parties recognize its inadequacy. This is all the more so since only two out of the four signatories have ratified the agreement (Seychelles and Zimbabwe), while the two others have only notified provisional application. Moreover two other ESA countries that have initialed this agreement have considered it inopportune to sign (Zambia and Comoros).         

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