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EU meets Eastern and Southern African partners to discuss EPA implementation

Economic Partnerships Mauritius, May 14th-15th 2013

The second high-level meeting under the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) for Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) was successfully held in Mauritius on 14 and 15 May 2013. The EPA Committee met exactly one year after Madagascar, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Zimbabwe started implementing this agreement with the European Union. The partners reviewed trade, development and customs aspects of the agreement, and adopted a Joint Communique on all issues involved.

Mr. Peter Thompson, Director at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade, expressed his satisfaction over the real benefits that the Agreement is already delivering in terms of free access for ESA products to the EU market. The European Union started applying duty and quota free access for all ESA products in 2008. He concluded that the ESA-EU partnership is an active and productive one, and that this meeting was important to review how the agreement is working for ESA’s development.

Mr. Thompson chaired the main EPA Committee together with Ambassador Konjuul of Mauritius. Two sub-committees, the Joint Development Committee and the Customs Cooperation Committee, also met for the second time to examine development-cooperation and customs issues. The meetings addressed the rules of procedure for these committees, the state of implementation on both sides, transparent tariff commitments, development support under the agreement, rules of origin and topical issues in ESA-EU trade relations.

The committee meetings are annual and the next meetings are due to take place in 2014.  

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