THE East African Community (EAC) will not be moving as a bloc in negotiations, signing, ratification and implementation of agreements with the European Union (EU) Economic Partnership.
Instead, each interested partner state will go it alone, after the EAC Heads of State met virtually on the weekend and recalled their preceding discussion on the EU-EAC Economic Partnership Agreement.
This comes in the wake of the regional leaders' recognition that not all partner states (Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan) are interested or in a position to sign, ratify and implement the agreement, so there is no way all could be forced to the same as a region.
"The Summit recognised the importance of some partner states to move forward. The Summit concluded that partner states, who wish to do so should be able to commence engagements with the EU with a view to starting the EU-EAC implementations under the Principle of Variable Geometry," EAC Communique released by the EAC Secretariat noted.
Trade and development agreements were negotiated between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific partners to cover goods, fisheries and development cooperation.
Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) are trade and development agreements negotiated between the EU and African, Caribbean and Pacific partners engaged in regional economic integration processes.
The EU-EAC EPA covers trade in goods and fisheries, as well as development cooperation that aims to reinforce cooperation on the sustainable use of resources.
Further negotiations are ongoing to include services and traderelated rules in the future. The deal is in line with the EAC Common External Tariff.
It bans unjustified or discriminatory restrictions on imports and exports, which contributes to the EAC's efforts to eradicate non-tariff barriers in intra-EAC trade.
It supports the EAC's regional integration agenda and has what it takes to foster development.