EU Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with East and Southern Africa (ESA) – Implications for Zimbabwe
The European Union has been negotiating the World Trade Organisation (WTO)-compatible Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states since 2002. This trade brief provides an overview of the status of the EPA negotiations as at April 2017, focusing on the position of Zimbabwe as part of the East and Southern Africa (ESA) EPA grouping.
The ESA EPA grouping consists of Zimbabwe, Zambia, Comoros, Mauritius, Madagascar and the Seychelles. Initially, the countries making up the ESA group numbered 16 but it was split in 2007 when the East Africa cluster was formed. The remaining ESA members initialled the original EPA text of 2007, and Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe signed the agreement in August 2009. The interim ESA EPA was approved by the European Parliament in January 2013. The EPA negotiations in the ESA region are not limited to the free trade in goods but will in the second phase extend to free trade in services, investment, government procurement and matters to do with competition rules and property rights.
To give domestic effect to the interim-EPA, which has since been ratified by Zimbabwe, Madagascar and Seychelles, Zimbabwe promulgated Statutory Instrument 117 of 2016 which provides for market access of goods originating from the EU. The tariff phase down is being implemented in three phases, with the final phasedown expected to be achieved by 2019.
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