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Preparation to Facilitate EPAs Talks Underway

The New Times, Kigali

Preparation to Facilitate EPAs Talks Underway

1 November 2008

By Eddie Mukaaya, Kigali

A ’white document’ meant to facilitate negotiations between regional economic blocs and the European Union (EU) under the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) has been finalised.

John Bosco Kanyagoga, an EAC-EU negotiator representing Rwanda said that, "The draft text will be presented to consultants next week in Nairobi for considerations and inputs.

Kanyagoga who also doubles as Private Sector Federation (PSF) Director for Institutional Relations and Policy Advocacy, said that consultants in Nairobi are expected to work with national negotiators while analyzing different approaches that will guarantee trade in services between both parties.

Trade in services refers to the sale and delivery of an intangible product between a producer and consumer.

The text of the white document was developed by the East African Community (EAC)-EPAs negotiators from member states. The drafting of agricultural and development cooperation texts is also ongoing.

Babajide Sodipo, a Trade Analyst with the Ministry of Commerce explained that the text will list liberalised or un-liberalised sectors in the region ready for trade depending on the approach.

The text comes when negotiations for comprehensive EPAs between EAC and European Union (EU) are ongoing, having signed an interim agreements last year without parliamentary debate.