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EAC wants more flexibility in EPA talks with EU

East African Community (EAC) Secretary General Richard Sezibera has called for a greater flexibility by the European Union (EU) on the contentious clauses touching on export taxes and most favourable nation (MFN) treatment in the ongoing regional negotiations for THE Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

“We need policy space that allows developing countries to negotiate with developed countries. It is very important for EAC in the EPA negotiations,” Dr. Sezibera told a Swedish government delegation that visited the EAC headquarters at Arusha, northern Tanzania, Monday.

In addition, the EAC chief asked Sweden for support in building capacity for small and medium enterprises in the five-nation bloc that groups Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi.

Expressing his appreciation for the Swedish government’s support through the EAC Partnership Fund, Dr. Sezibera said the Community’s move towards a single customs territory was high on the region’s agenda, as well as implementation of the Common Market Protocol.

He said the EAC was also focusing on infrastructure development and conclusion of negotiations for the Monetary Union Protocol.

Dialogue between the two parties focused, among other things, on the ongoing institutional review, financing of the Community, trade and investment, political federation of the EAC partner states and human rights issues in the region.

Meanwhile, Sweden’s Ambassador to Tanzania and EAC, Mr. Lennarth Hjelmaker, has reaffirmed his country’s commitment to supporting the Community projects and programmes.

In addition, Sweden’s Deputy Director of Africa Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Jakob Strom, said his country was interested in seeing its financial contributions bear fruit through closer integration, and the creation of a conducive environment for economic development in the EAC bloc.


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