EAC advised on economic deals with EU

Ms Jane Nalunga, the country director SEATINI Uganda. PHOTO BY FARAHANI MUKISA

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Deals expected to help regional states increase productivity.

Kampala.

The East African Community (EAC) has been asked to focus on development priorities while negotiating the Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the European Union (EU).
Ms Jane Nalunga, the country director Southern and Eastern African Trade Information and Negotiation Institute (SEATINI) Uganda, made the call at a media briefing in Kampala on Monday.
She said for any EPA to be concluded by the EAC, it should be coherent with its development priorities, support its structural transformation and sustainable development.
Some of the EAC’s development priorities include; helping member countries to increase their production capacities, encouraging diversification, increasing food security, providing quality employment and moving the region from being largely raw natural resource exporters to being producers of more sophisticated products.
“EAC should not compromise the development of other sectors that will be affected once the current EPA is concluded for the sake of protecting the flowers industry from attracting tariffs in the EU market,” she advised.
“Our negotiators and policy makers should not succumb to the pressure of concluding an EPA if the terms will jeopardise the region’s sustainable development,” she added.
For over a decade, several attempts to have the EPAs signed between the European Union and EAC have collapsed due to some contentious issues.
Ms Nalunga said although Africa needs to trade with the EU and other regions, the current EPA negotiations do not favour the interests of EAC countries.

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