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EU Signs EPA With South African States

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

13 June 2016

The European Union (EU) has signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with six members of the Southern African Development Community, which will provide varying degrees of duty- and quota-free access to each party.

The EPA, a development-oriented free trade agreement, is with Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Swaziland. It guarantees Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, and Swaziland duty-free, quota-free access to the European market. South Africa will benefit from improved market access.

The Southern African markets will open gradually and partially to EU exports. Import duties on many "intermediary goods" – including certain industrial parts, seeds, and machinery - will be significantly reduced. The aim is to make these products more easily accessible to Southern African entrepreneurs.

"Traditional quality products" produced in the EU will obtain the exclusive right to use their traditional names, or "geographical indications," in South Africa. In turn, several South African geographical indications will be protected on the EU market, including different types of wine such as Stellenbosch and Paarl, and Rooibos tea.

By signing the agreement, all parties committed to acting towards sustainable development, including upholding social and environmental standards.

The agreement will now be submitted for approval to the European Parliament, and for ratification in the 28 EU member states and each Southern African signatory.

TAGS: South Africa | environment | free trade agreement (FTA) | Swaziland | entrepreneurs | trade treaty | Lesotho | Mozambique | Botswana | Namibia | import duty | standards | trade | European Union (EU) | Europe | Africa

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