080 E Comesa Newsletter 217


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* Selected Countries in the Eastern and Southern African region sign an EPA with the European Union
* ‘More still outstanding before a full ESA-EU Economic Partnership Agreement is signed – says COMESA chief
* ‘EPAs should connect people’ - Minister Mutati
* Enhancing regional integration in the Eastern and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region
* RCTG Scheme Rollout in September 2009

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080 E Comesa Newsletter 217

  1. 1. newsletter 1 Issue #217 -4th September 2009 Issue #126 Friday 19 October 2007 newsletter Selected Countries in the Eastern and Southern African region sign an EPA with the European Union T he European Union has signed an interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with four countries from the Eastern and Southern Africa regional grouping (ESA). These countries are Mauritius, Seychelles, Zimbabwe and Madagascar. Zambia and Comoros have indicated they will sign at a later date. The agreement was signed in Grand Baie, Mauritius, by EU Trade ESA Ministers, EU Ministers, COMESA SG and European Commision officials after the signing in Mauritius Commissioner Catherine Ashton and Commissioner Ashton said “We now Trade Hon. Dr Arvin Boolell, Hon. Swedish deputy trade minister Gunnar have the foundation to build a more Chakanaka Bimha Deputy Minister of Wieslander on behalf of the EU on comprehensive trade partnership Industry and Commerce were joined 29th August 2009. Ministers from the that will support the ESA region’s by other Ministers from Comoros and four ESA countries signed on behalf of work to build diverse and sustainable Ambassadors from the ESA region. their governments. Zambian Minister economies. of Commerce, Trade and Industry Felix This agreement brings a diverse Commissioner Ashton met the Mutati was present at the signing region together under a single trade Ministers and heads of delegation as ESA Chair. Common Market for arrangement with the EU, tailored to and they discussed elements of this Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) the specific needs of the region and comprehensive trade partnership, Secretary General Mr Sindiso Ngwenya recognising its diversity.” which would cover issues like services, was also present at the signing. investment, agriculture, technical Mr Ngwenya said “The challenge we standards, trade facilitation and trade- The deal offers the ESA countries that face between now and the signing related rules. Discussions covered key signed the agreement immediate of the full ESA EPA is to introduce issues such as protection for infant and full access to EU markets (with the economic component, through industries and export duties and both transition periods for rice and sugar), improved market access, development sides agreed to press forward with together with improved rules of origin. and deeper regional integration and negotiations without delay. ESA countries will open their markets to make EPAs a true partnership,”. gradually over the next 15 years, with The trade and development a number of important exceptions The Ministers from ESA who included partnership reflecting their development needs. Mauritian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International All imports from the countries that This bulletin is published by the COMESA Secretariat Public Relations Unit but does not necessarily represent views of the Secretariat. Contact Address : COMESA SECRETARIAT, COMESA Center , Ben Bella Road www.comesa.int P.O. Box 30015, 260 1 229 725, 260 1 225 107 www.comesa.int, e.COMESA@comesa.int
  2. 2. ‘More still outstanding before a full ESA-EU Economic Selected Countries in the Partnership Agreement is signed – says COMESA chief Eastern and Southern African region sign an EPA T 2 he Secretary General of the armaments. ACP countries signing EPAs Common Market for Eastern and will also have duty-free quota-free market with the European Union Southern Africa (COMESA) Mr access into the EU, once the transition from page 1 Sindiso Ngwenya has called on the period for rice and sugar are over, but this signed the interim EPA have benefited European Commission to be more is on a reciprocal basis. EPAs, therefore, from duty and quota free access to the accommodating and conclude an do not, and will not, provide improved EU since 1st January 2008 (with short Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) market access into the EU market for transition periods for rice and sugar). which will be easily accepted covering all LDCs unless there are improvements These countries will now liberalise key areas that are dear to the Eastern and in Rules of Origin and unless the 80% Southern Africa (ESA) region. market access provided to the EU by ESA their markets to EU imports over the EPA countries, coupled with safeguard next 15 years, gradually removing “The challenge that we face between measures, ensure that EU imports do not tariffs on between 80% and 98% of now and the signing of the full ESA EPA is lead to a destruction of the existing and imports from the EU depending on to introduce the economic component, future production capacities of ESA EPA the country. through improved market access, countries. development and deeper regional integration and to make EPAs a true “Perhaps the biggest failure of the Among the products excluded from partnership. If we cannot do this we will negotiations in market access is the liberalisation are sensitive agricultural not be able to take advantage of the full failure to negotiate new development- and manufactured products such potential of EPAs,” Mr Ngwenya added. friendly rules of origin. For a start, the as milk, meat, vegetables, textiles, accumulation rules currently being footwear and clothing. He pointed out that to him, the most applied under interim EPAs only allows important outcomes of EPAs were for accumulation between the countries supposed to be deepening and that have signed the interim EPA. So Other regional countries like Djibouti, strengthening regional integration, firms based in East Africa that imported Ethiopia, Eritrea, Malawi and Sudan improving market access into the EU, or raw materials from outside of East Africa, are involved in ongoing negotiations at least having equivalent access to that including the DR Congo and Zambia, for the more comprehensive enjoyed under Cotonou, whether EPA are now no longer able to export the is signed or not, having a development final product to the EU duty-free as the regional agreement and may component that would address supply product no longer conforms to EPA rules join the agreement later. As Least side issues and improving trade in services of origin, although it did under Cotonou Developed Countries they have duty and trade related issues. Regrettably not and before interim EPAs, and nothing in free access to EU markets under much has been done to make these the production process has changed,” the EU Everything But Arms trade outcomes a reality. Ngwenya said. arrangement and do not need to “Let me begin with the objective of He revealed that from the work done so submit a market access offer to sign deepening regional integration. In this far in preparation of the COMESA-East the agreement and benefit from area, we have failed miserably. No one can African Community and SADC Tripartite its development cooperation and say that the EPA process has deepened FTA, it has become abundantly clear fisheries provisions while negotiations or strengthened our regional integration that the Lome or Cotonou-style rules towards the more comprehensive deal process,” Ngwenya pointed out. of origin are difficult and expensive to Although the EU is an important market, implement and are poor trade promotion continue. there is a need to distinguish between instruments.(find the full speech by the Secretary General market access for they Least Developed on www.comesa.int) Background: EU - ESA Trade in Goods Countries (LDCs) and market access for UPCOMING EVENTS In 2007 total EU imports from the developing countries. 7th to 10th Sept 2009 Inaugural Meeting of the ESA group were approximately Euros COMESA Task Force on the Customs Union 3.17billion, comprising mainly textiles Mr Ngwenya took time to give a detailed 14th to 15th Sept 2009 High Level Meeting account of the current scenario. All LDCs between the Eastern and Southern Africa and clothing, sugar, fish products, raw are eligible for Everything-but-arms which – Indian Ocean region and the European cane sugar, coffee, tuna and copper. is a generalized System of Preference Commission in Lusaka Last year, EU exports to the ESA Group scheme that provides non-reciprocal 16th to 18th Sept 2009 WTO/COMESA consisted mostly of mechanical and duty-free quota-free market access Seminar on the Doha Development Agenda and the COMESA Customs Union: Victoria electrical machinery and vehicles and into the EC for all LDC products except Falls, Zimbabwe totaled Euros 4.3billion www.comesa.int
  3. 3. ‘EPAs should connect people’ - Minister Mutati T he chairperson of the 3 Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) group Minister Felix Mutati says Economic Partnership Agreements should be about connecting people and moving them from a state of despair to hope. Minister Mutati was speaking at the signing of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) between the European Union and Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles. “An EPA should be about connecting people, making a difference in their lives and creating COMESA SG Ngwenya with the ESA Chair Felix Mutati the independence that they need. Its not about the high table, its group Zambia is going to align presidency if only that output will for that person on the ground. itself with what Nelson Mandela be the EPA fully signed. Portugal It should be about making a said, you lead from behind make we know you add your weight difference, providing relief. Moving sure that the flock is going in the that Africa needs to move ahead. despair and hopelessness to hope right direction do not be the first Lets not exchange mare words and respecting that the destiny one to harvest let the flock harvest because the fisherman out there of the region and Africa is in our first and that Zambia is going to and the harvestor doesn’t know hands. Only us can make a change. lead from behind as chair of the words what they knows is just pure So we dont only find the EPAs ESA group and let the flock harvest survival so lets be practical, lets as abstract things, we define the first,’” make a difference to humanity, EPAs as a thing that must match lets be remembered that we once our people going forward. In our Zambia did not sign the EPA but walked this earth and not that we effort to move forward, we believe assured the delegates that it will once discussed this earth. I know it that regional solidarity is critically mobilize other ESA countries and can be done. Today is not the end important that we need to move sign before the end of this year. of the road, it is just the beginning together in unity to conclude this The Minister said he will engage in or perhaps the most difficult journey together,” he pointed out. intensive consultations with other potion of the road. And Catherine, He reiterated that the ESA region is ESA countries have find the best as I said when we first met, you will facing several challenges that must way to move the region forward by never walk alone.ESA and EC are be addressed before a full EPA is signing the Interim EPA. connected at the head. We fall and signed with the Europeans. rise together and in that regard we “Sweden the chair of the have no choice. There is no surgical “Nobody should be left behind commission you need to deliver solution to disconnect us from the and this is why as chair of the ESA an output at the end of your hip,” Minister Mutati said. www.comesa.int
  4. 4. Enhancing regional integration in the Eastern RCTG Scheme and Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region Rollout in September 2009 M 4 T inisters from Eastern and Its objectives are to agree on way he Third Meeting of the Southern Africa and the ahead to improve alignment Council of Surety on the Indian ocean (ESA-IO) between national strategies and Regional Customs Transit region will meet chief executives the process of deepening regional Guarantee ( RCTG) Scheme , of regional organizations and integration, and, to better harness EU popularly known as the RCTG high officials from the European support and aid delivery in general CARNET, held from 18-20 August , Commission to discuss and agree for regional integration namely enhancing support to regional through the ESA-IO 10th European 2009 in Harare , Zimbabwe , decided integration. The meeting will be held development fund and the EC that the RCTG CARNET be rolled on 14th to 15th September 2009 in regional Aid for Trade(AfT) packages. out in Kenya , Uganda , Rwanda Lusaka. and Burundi with effect from 15th The Meeting will also be an September 2009 . The meeting IGAD Executive Secretary Mr opportunity to strengthen the also decided that Djibouti ,DR Mahboub Maalim who is also Chair partners’ political dialogue in Peace Congo ,Ethiopia , Malawi , Sudan of the Inter-Regional Coordinating and Security and Democratic and Zimbabwe should finalize the Committee (IRCC) and on behalf Governance both under Article 8 preparations and implemented the of the other member regional of the Cotonou Agreement and scheme in January 2010 . organizations of the IRCC which are in relation to Partnerships 1 and 3 COMESA, EAC, IOC and SADC and Mr of the Joint Africa – EU Strategy. The COMESA CARNET is a customs Stefano Manservis, Director General Discussions will also be held on the transit regime designed to facilitate of Development at the European economic and financial crisis, food the movement of goods in transit Commission in Brussels have called prices and security ad potential EU in the COMESA region by providing for a High Level Meeting between response mechanisms. Last but not adequate security of guarantee the Eastern and Southern Africa – least a key point in the meeting will to the transit countries to recover Indian Ocean (ESA-IO) region and be to agree on the process for the duties and taxes should the goods the European Commission. mid-term review of the ESA-IO 10th in transit be illegally disposed of for The meeting will regroup the EDF Regional Strategy Paper with home consumption in the country Ministers from the ESA-IO ACP ideas to reshape more efficiently the of transit. Under the RCTG Scheme, States responsible for cooperation way to deal with EU funding in the only one bond- RCTG CARNET will with the European Union, country context of its support to regional be issued and thus doing away with high officials including those from integration. the current practice under which the International Trade , Chief a bond is required to be issued Executives from the member The European Commission has for every country in which the regional organizations of the IRCC, made available a grant envelope goods are in transit. RCTG CARNET the African Union, EU Presidency of EUR 645 million to the ESA-IO therefore facilitates the movement, and High officials from the European region under the 10th EDF for clearance and release of transit goods Commission, as well as observers the 2008-2013 period. The EU and thereby reducing the cost of from other regional organisations Aid for Trade Strategy specifies a guarantees, collateral amount, and and international cooperating concrete target of increasing EU transit time. It makes movement and partners. trade related assistance to EUR 2 clearance of transit goods simple, billion per year by 2010 as well as cheaper and faster. RCTG CARNET The theme of the meeting is a general commitment to step up is a passport for merchandise it the “Enhancing delivery on the ESA- development finance for the wider region. IO regional integration agenda”. AfT agenda. www.comesa.int