Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe have s igned an interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union (EU), according to a communique issued h ere Friday by the European Commission.
Under the terms of the agreement, the four countries will have immediate access and without restriction to the European market but will progressively open their markets in the next five years by gradually elimin ating custom duties on their European imports.
Among the products excluded from the liberalisation milk, meat, vegetables, text iles and shoes.
The communique said Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Malawi and Sudan continue their participation in the ongoing negotiations in order to conclude a complete EPA with the EU.
The interim agreement involves the exchange of goods between the signatory count ries and the EU, whereas the complete agreement will include goods, services, investments and agriculture.
In 2008, EU’s imports from East and Southern African countries amounted to 3.2 b illion euros, whereas European exports to those countries reached 4.3 billion euros.