The East African Community (EAC) has begun talks dedicated to negotiating the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).
The EAC Director General for Customs and Trade, Peter Kiguta, said that each member state is to present its position in regard to broad aspects of economic and development issues.
“This session will provide a final report which will be forwarded to the EU for its inputs before the two blocs meet in mid September,” he explained.
All five EAC countries; Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda and Uganda are represented at the 4-day meeting taking place at Hotel Novotel Umubano in Kigali.
Kiguta asked states’ representatives to draw heavily on the EAC development strategy for 2006-2010 as part of the working document.
He added that the report will not only build a strong regional framework for the EPA negotiations on development, but also serve as a mechanism for future use in engaging partners on developmental issues.
Kiguta further explained that the negotiations are fulfillments of the last EAC and EU technical officials’ meeting. Recommendations on several issues were agreed upon.
The official said that the meeting held in Brussels, in April this year agreed on broad areas of cooperation as a guiding framework for the development of the full text.
Some of the specific areas of cooperation pointed out include; supply side constraints, private sector development and agriculture.
It is important for member states to come up with negotiation positions that would allow the EAC comfortable fall backs.