East Africa: EAC Keeps Europe Guessing Two Months to Crucial Meeting

(file photo).

Two months to the East African Community's Summit, partner states are keeping the European Union guessing over the controversial Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) whose signing stalled in 2016.

When the 21st EAC Summit takes place in November, the bloc is expected to have reached a decision that was deferred when the heads of state last met in February.

At the meeting, Tanzania argued that there were still pertinent issues in the EAC-EU EPA, and that it needed more clarifications on them from Brussels.

The EAC head of states then gave Tanzania four months to take its concerns to the EU, which sources reveal were clarified "before the end of the four-month period."

But sources told The EastAfrican that the European Commission "has not received a response from Tanzania, nor the EAC."

Brussels had written and suggested to Tanzania and the EAC Secretariat that a technical meeting to deliver further explanations and dispel any remaining misunderstanding be held, but as of last week, response by both Tanzania and the EAC Secretariat was still pending.

It would appear now, that the EAC--of which Kenya seems to have changed tack--has got one over Brussels, as the current status quo guarantees all the blocs's member states market access to the EU.

For example, sources revealed that Kenya had not made any formal contact with Brussels to apply for a different trade regime in order to secure long term market access to EU for its exports.

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