Written by Eric Pichon (2nd edition, updated on 23.05.2022).
The current partnership between sub-Saharan African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) and the EU (the Cotonou Partnership Agreement) has a provision making it possible for the EU to negotiate different economic partnership agreements (EPAs) with regional ACP sub-groups. This provision was needed for the partnership to be aligned with the World Trade Organization’s rules. Negotiations for an EPA with the partner states of the East African Community (EAC) – at the time: Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda – were finalised in October 2014. South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which joined the EAC in 2016 and 2022 respectively, did not take part in the negotiations, but can join the agreement once it enters into force. As soon as this happens, the EU-EAC EPA will immediately provide duty-free, quota-free access to the EU market to all EAC exports, combined with partial and gradual opening of the EAC market to imports from the EU. The EPA contains detailed provisions on sustainable agriculture and fisheries, rules of origin, and sanitary and phytosanitary measures. The parties are committed to concluding additional negotiations within five years of the entry into force of the agreement. The signing of the EPA has been stalled because of discussions within the EAC. Except for Kenya, all EAC partner states are least developed countries, and still enjoy duty-free and quota-free access to the EU market. Some of them have pushed for further clarifications on the consequences of the EPA for their economies before the EAC endorses the agreement. Kenya is the only EAC country to have ratified the agreement, in order not to lose free access to the EU market. It has now entered negotiations to implement a bilateral interim EPA with the EU.
|Economic Partnership Agreement between the East African Community Partner States, of the one part, and the European Union and its Member States, of the other part|
|Committee responsible:||International Trade (INTA)||2016/0038(NLE)|
|Rapporteur:||Massimiliano Salini (EPP, Italy)|
Read the complete briefing on ‘Economic Partnership Agreement with the East African Community‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.
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