ESA bloc to sign interim EPA with EU 29 August

Pana | 18/08/2009

ESA block to sign interim EPA with EU 29 August

Port-Louis, Mauritius — The Eastern-Southern Africa (ESA) block, including Mauritius, will sign an interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU) on 29 August at the Conference Centre of Grand-Baie in northern Mauritius, PANA learnt Tuesday from an official source.

An official of the Mauritian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Baroness Catherine Ashton, the European Commissioner for Trade, would be present on that occasion.

The Zambian Minister of Trade, Felix Mutati, and the secretary-general of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), Sindiso Ngwenya, will also attend the agreement signing ceremony.

A meeting of ESA officials is planned for 27 August, while the inter-ministerial meeting will be held 28 August at the same venue.

"Mauritius had initiated the talks for an interim EPA on 4 December, 2007 in acc ordance with the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the parameters of the access to the market, the agreement on fishing and the theme of development," Ngwenya said.

He noted that the dispensation of the WTO for the trade provisions of the Cotonou Agreement signed 23 June 2000 by the EU and 77 ACP states expired in December 2007.

"The EPAs provide a framework for the progressive and mastered liberalisation and establish between the EU and the ACP, a new type of commercial relation, based on a partnership for long-term development," he emphasised.

The ESA groups six countries of the region: Madagascar, Mauritius, the Seychelles, the Comoros, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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