1. W/African leaders Set a Deadline to Finalise EPA With EU


The West African leaders have met for the 44th ordinary session of the ECOWAS in Ivory Coast at the end of March to discuss, among others, on issues related to regional integration, transformation of the region and the state of progress on the ECOWAS Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union. Western Africa was the closest region to concluding a full regional EPA last month, but Heads of State refused to sign the agreement at the last minute, until divergences over technical issues were smoothed out with the EU side. Moreover, they postponed formally signing the EPA after Nigeria expressed concerns about how the deal would impact on its industrial sector if it drops tariffs on certain EU products. A new deadline to finalise EPA with the EU will be held next month.  


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2.      Kenya says EAC-EU trade talks could be concluded by May


The ongoing trade talks between the East African Community (EAC) and the European Union (EU) could be concluded by the end of May. The contentious issues in the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) have been reduced to three: the EU should export subsidizes on its agricultural products, the EAC's use of taxes to discourage export of raw materials and the high unemployment rate due to its low manufacturing base. The EU-EAC negotiations on a full Economic Partnerships Agreement (EPA) are on the verge of conclusion.   


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  1. Southern Africa: The Endgame of the EU-SADC EPA Negotiations

In Africa, the bilateral and regional trade agreement agenda has been dominated the negotiations on Trade for the past few years. The prominence of the EPA negotiations has increased in recent months given the October 2014 deadline for the conclusion of the EPAs. A number of stumbling blocks such as export taxes, agricultural safeguards and rules of origin remain in the negotiations, and many African countries wonder whether the agreements being proposed by the EU really will promote sustainable development and support regional integration.   


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