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European Council Approves EPA With East Africa

by Ulrika Lomas, Tax-News.com, Brussels

22 June 2016


On June 20, 2016, the European Council authorized the signature and provisional application of an economic partnership agreement (EPA) with the East African Community (EAC).

Negotiations toward a region-to-region comprehensive EPA between the European Union (EU) and the EAC (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda) were concluded in October 2014.

The agreement provides immediate duty-free, quota-free access to the EU market for all EAC exports. It enables the partial and gradual opening of the EAC market to imports from the EU, excluding certain sensitive items.

In addition, the EPA places a ban on unjustified or discriminatory restrictions on imports and exports. It also contains trade defense mechanisms, whereby each side can reintroduce duties if imports from the other party disturb or threaten to disturb its economy.

The EU previously provided duty-free, quota-free access to EAC products between January 1, 2008, and September 30, 2014. Since October 1, 2014, the four EAC countries with Least Developed Country status have continued to benefit from such access under the Everything But Arms scheme. For a two-month period, Kenya fell under the standard Generalised Scheme of Preferences, but was in December 2014 reinstated to duty-free, quota-free status, pending the signature, ratification, and application of the EPA by October 2016.

TAGS: free trade agreement (FTA) | trade treaty | agreements | Kenya | Rwanda | Uganda | import duty | trade | European Union (EU) | Burundi | Tanzania | Europe | Africa

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