The meeting that sought to negotiate the conditions under which the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) would be signed has failed to reach a consensus, according to Rwandan officials who attended.
The meeting that attracted Ministers responsible for trade matters from the East African Community (EAC) member states with the commissioner for trade in the European Union (EU) last week failed to reach a consensus, according to Monique Nsanzabaganwa, the Minister of Commerce and Trade.
The meeting which took place in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania on the 9th June also attracted K. De Gucht the commissioner representing the EU.
“Regarding the outstanding issues, both parties noted that while some progress has been made, there remained areas where further discussions are required in order to reach a consensus,” said Nsanzabaganwa.
Economic Partnership Agreements are the trade and development agreements that the EU is currently negotiating in parallel with seven African, Caribbean pacific regions.
There were two broad categories of issues that remained outstanding and key to the signing of EPAs framework (FEPA).
Nsanzabaganwa noted that there are articles where there is consensus on the wording but divergence on whether they should be incorporated into the FEPA or the comprehensive EPA.
The other challenge to the signing is the divergence is on articles where consensus has not been reached on the reformulation.
The scope of the full negations include customs and trade, outstanding trade and market access issues including rules of origin technical barriers to trade and trade in services among others.
Market access offers EU full access both duty and quota free beginning 2008 with transition periods for rice and sugar and EAC is required starting 2010 to open up its market by 82 percent.