EAC-EU EPA NEGOTIATIONS
The European Union(EU) Senior Officials and the Permanent/Principal Secretaries from EAC were then engaged in the final negotiations of EU-EAC Economic Partnership Agreement at the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium on 14th October, 2014.
The negotiations centred on five(5) outstanding issues that had led to the elapse of the deadline for the renewal of free market access to Europe by the EAC member states as from 1st October, 2014.
The outstanding issues were as follows:
- Article 15 on Duties and Taxes on Export.
- Article 78 on Domestic Policy Measures.
- Article 175 on relationship with the Cotonou Agreement.
- Good Governance in the Tax Area.
- Consequences from Custom Union Agreements concluded with the EU
The Kenyan delegation was comprised of Principal Secretaries from Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Dr.(Eng.) Karanja Kibicho; East Africa Affairs, Mr. John O. Konchellah and Agriculture, Ms. Cecilia Kariuki.
The EU delegation was headed by the Secretary General to the Commmision, Ms. Catherine Day.
The meeting was a success in concluding the outstanding issues and later culminated in the joint iniatiling of the EPA text and of the Protocol on the Rules of Origin by the the Permanent/Principal Secretaries from EAC on Trade and EU to signfiy the conclusion of the negotiations.
All the parties then proceeded to take a joint photo.
Going forward the parties will:
- Initiate Legal scrubbing with a view to have a clean text for signature within six (6);
- Develop a legal provision allowing for attaching the EAC Development Matrix that has contains regional programmes and projects for funding by EU and other development partners as an annex to the EPA agreement
- Hold a joint EAC-EU Ministerial meeting to for signing of the Agreement and Protocol on the Rules of Origin.
However, Kenya will continue to trade under the Generalised Scheme of Preferences in the interim as the EU works to revert it to the Duty Free market within the next 3-6months. This will enable the EAC business community to get market access in the EU and enure our products are competitive.
Prior to the Senior Officials and the Permanent/Principal Secretaries negotiations there wer preliminary meeting held:
The technical officials from East Africa Community (EAC) met on 12th October, 2014 at African Carribean and Pacific offices in the Kenyan Embassy of Belgium to agree on a common position in regard to the EAC-EU Economic Partnership Agreement(EPA) text and the Protocol on the Rules of Origin.
On the following day, they had a joint meeting with the technical offcials from the European Union (EU) on 13th October, 2014 at the EU headquarters in Brussels,Belgium. The technical officials were tasked to clean the EPA text, Rules of Origin and the EAC development matric