THE EAC-EU EPA NEGOTIATIONS GATHER MOMENTUM

The Kenya Flower Council participated in the East Africa Community-European Union (EAC-EU) negotiations on the Economic Partnership Agreement.  The successful completion of the EAC/EU EPA negotiations in October 2014 ushered in the exercise of legal scrubbing and editing of the EAC-EU EPA text and annexes.

This is in preparation for the signing and eventual ratification. The first meeting was held in Arusha Tanzania between 4th and 13th February 2015 followed by the Brussels meeting which took place between 20th and 24, having been preceded by an EAC regional preparatory meeting that was held between 14th to 18th April 2015. The outcome of the legal scrubbing thus far has been the review of all chapters and annexes.  An additional meeting is planned to take place between 23rd and 25th June in EAC region and is considered as the final meeting where a clean text and annexes will be the ultimate product.

On the way forward, it was suggested that the EAC region need to thoroughly study the outstanding issues and come up with fall back positions on EU proposals, while identifying areas of tradeoff for EAC benefits in case of EAC giving ground on its positions.  This is mainly the case where EU and EAC have both made proposals for substantive change of current text.

On transposing of EAC Market Access Offer, the EAC Secretariat proposed need for EAC Market Access Offer to the EU to be transposed to HS2012.  This was because of EAC CET having been updated from HS2002, the platform on which EAC market offer was based, to HS 2012, to be in compliance with the World Customs Organization’s standards.  Details on this proposal will be availed during the next round of the EAC/EU meeting when a decision will be made.

In conclusion a concrete roadmap for signing and ratification of the EPA will be proposed at the next meeting where  the legal scrubbing should formally be completed ushering in the phase for translation of text and annexes in readiness for signing and ratification.

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