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EU Pushing For Progress On African Trade Talks

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

13 November 2013


The European Union's (EU) Trade Commissioner has said that the bloc has "the opportunity to seal agreements that will ensure the necessary access to a market of 500m consumers for key African exports, while bringing our trade and development partnership to a more advanced stage."

Karel De Gucht made the comments ahead of a trade mission to South Africa, Cameroon, and Ivory Coast. He will meet with South African Trade Minister Rob Davies, and with high ranking government and business representatives in both Cameroon and Ivory Coast.

The EU has been negotiating Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with a number of African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, with the aim of securing duty and quota free access to the EU market. Three EPAs are now in force, with the CARIFORUM, the Pacific Region, and Eastern and Southern Africa.

Trade between the EU and South Africa is currently governed by a Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement (TDCA), signed in 1999. Negotiations on an EPA are continuing between the EU and the Southern African Development Community, which also includes Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Swaziland.

The EU inked an interim EPA with Cameroon in 2009, and is seeking a comparable deal with the entire Central African region. Similarly, an interim agreement with Ivory Coast was drawn up in 2008. The EU expects that negotiations with the broader West African region will be resumed following the ECOWAS Summit of Dakar last month.

"Africa is currently seeing some of the best economic growth in the world, despite all of its challenges, and this is why I am coming back to Africa for the second time this year. I attach great importance to cementing our trade and investment relationship with African countries and regions," De Gucht added.

TAGS: South Africa | tax | investment | business | European Commission | Swaziland | export duty | tariffs | trade treaty | Angola | Lesotho | Mozambique | excise duty | agreements | tax rates | Botswana | Cameroon | Namibia | trade | European Union (EU) | Europe | Africa

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