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East African Community can't reach partnership agreement

Staff Writer |
Deadline for signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the East African Community (EAC) and the European Union lapsed, with no deal.

The deadline, which was initially October last year, had been extended to February 2 (yesterday) to give member countries more time to review the document and come up with a common position as a bloc, All Africa reports.

By the lapse of the previous deadline, only Rwanda and Kenya had signed the agreement. However, the agreement is expected to be effective if all EAC partner states accede to it.

Across the region, opinions on whether to sign it or not have been sharply split with some with the view that EPAs are not ideal for the region as it will open up the region to more European exports which could promote unfair competition and kill regional industries.

Those for the agreement argue that the deal provides for EAC exports access to European markets duty-free and quota-free, while the European Union access to EAC market provides for a gradual liberalisation of tariffs.

During the previous EAC heads of state summit held in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, the leaders requested for additional time for clarification on some of the contentious issues raised by partner states before considering the signing of the agreement as a bloc.

Read the whole story here.

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