Di­vided EAC pushes EU agree­ment to Jan­uary

This is af­ter Tan­za­nia and Bu­rundi’s re­fusal to sign the Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship Agree­ment at the Heads of State Sum­mit in Dar

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Kenya will have to lobby for its own duty-free mar­ket ac­cess to Europe to shield its ex­ports to the Euro­pean Union from taxes.

This is af­ter Tan­za­nia and Bu­rundi’s re­fusal to sign the Eco­nomic Part­ner­ship Agree­ment at the Heads of State Sum­mit in Dar es Salaam yes­ter­day, deal­ing a blow to the pact whose dead­line is Oc­to­ber 1.

Uganda, which had in­di­cated will­ing­ness, also failed to sign the deal at the sum­mit. Con­se­quently the East Africa Com­mu­nity pres­i­dents pushed the EPA talks to Jan­uary.

The move leaves Kenya with no oth- er op­tion rather than to lobby for its own quota-free mar­ket.

Kenya and Rwanda signed the deal in Brus­sels, Bel­gium, last week on Thurs­day but it can­not be rat­i­fied by the EU com­mis­sion with­out sig­na­tures from all the EAC mem­ber states.

Deputy Pres­i­dent William Ruto rep­re­sented Kenya at the sum­mit at­tended by pres­i­dent John Magu­fuli (Tan­za­nia) Yow­eri Mu­sev­eni (Uganda) and Rwanda’s Paul Kagame,which was meant to con­vince Tan­za­nia and Bu­rundi to sign the EPA.

Bu­rundi sent a rep­re­sen­ta­tive - min­is­ter for ex­ter­nal re­la­tions and in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion Alain Aime Nyamitwe, to the 17th ex­tra-or­di­nary sum­mit.

“Tan­za­nia has re­neged ar­gu­ing that it was analysing it (EPA)while Bu­run- di is fu­ri­ous af­ter Euro­pean coun­tries slapped an aid em­bargo on the coun­try fol­low­ing its dis­puted elec­tions and vi­o­lence that fol­lowed it,” a com­mu­niqué from the Deputy Pres­i­dent Press Ser­vice said.

It said the East Africa Com­mu­nity will write to the EU not to pun­ish Kenya by im­pos­ing taxes on its goods. “The dead­line given by the EU was Oc­to­ber 1, which can­not be met,” it said.

“This will neg­a­tively af­fect prospec­tive trade ar­range­ments with other coun­tries,” Ruto said.

Kenya and Rwanda can, how­ever, seek to im­ple­ment the agree­ment un­der the EAC com­mon mar­ket “Prin­ci­ple of Vari­able Ge­om­e­try”. It is pro­vides flex­i­bil­ity in the process of im­ple­ment­ing projects and pro­gramme in the in­te­gra­tion process.

/DPPS

Tan­za­nian Pres­i­dent John Magu­fuli wel­comes DP William Ruto in Dar for the EAC ex­tra­or­di­nary sum­mit yes­ter­day

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