Tanzania to assess position on EAC’s economic partnership agreement

The agreement will have serious consequences on its revenues and the growth of its industries.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (L) shakes hands with Tanzanian President John Magufuli (C) as Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni looks on during the 19th Ordinary Summit of the East African Community Heads of State in Entebbe on February 22, 2018. (Photo by STR / AFP)

Tanzania is reviewing its stance on the East African Community’s Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union, with a view of endorsing the deal Government officials are said to be negotiating with the EU before the lapse of the four months the country was allowed by the EAC to resolve its issues.

The EPA is a trade deal between the two blocs, which gives EAC products total access to the EU market, with 82.6 percent of imports from the EU allowed on the EAC market.

Negotiations for the EPA were concluded on October 16, 2014 with all EU member-states and the EU itself signing it.

The deadline for the signing by EAC countries had originally been set for October 1, 2016.

Only Kenya and Rwanda have signed the deal.

Tanzania argues that the agreement will have serious consequences on its revenues and the growth of its industries.

Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation minister Augustine Mahiga, says Tanzania is in talks with EU to resolve some technicalities and will only sign the agreement after all its issues have been ironed out.

“It is still too early to disclose the technicalities which we are yet to agree upon,” he said, adding that once an agreement has been reached, the deal will be tabled in Parliament for approval.

The move to heighten the level of engagement between Tanzania and the EU on the trade pact follows a meeting at State House Dar es Salaam between President John Magufuli and the acting EU head of mission Mr. 

Charles Stuart on February 7.

According to sources, the government is said to have relaxed its stance on EPA as it tries to mend relations with the EU.

However, experts warn that signing the agreement as individual countries would weaken the region’s rules of origin and give rise to partner states operating on different trading regimes, a situation that is likely to compromise efforts towards regional integration.

Uganda argues that signing the pact, as individual countries would compromise the unity of the region, hence its decision to wait it out.

Burundi, which was sanctioned by the EU after political unrest when President Pierre Nkurunziza ran for a controversial third term in 2015, has also maintained that it will not agree to sign the trade deal, given its deteriorating relations with Europe.


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