The European Union (EU) has started negotiations with Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Zimbabwe to deepen the existing Economic Partnership Agreement.
Given the positive results generated by the current agreement, now in its 8th year of implementation, the five Southern African countries have declared their readiness to move beyond trade in goods, towards a more comprehensive agreement.
The EU has welcomed this step, especially in the context of the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs.
Since the initial agreement started to apply in 2012, exports of goods from the five ESA countries to the EU have increased by almost a quarter, reaching nearly €2.8 billion in 2018.
European businesses are also increasingly investing in the region. The new agreement should cover other important trade related areas and trade related rules, such as services, investment, technical barriers to trade, intellectual property rights as well as trade and sustainable development.
EU Trade Commissioner, Cecilia Malmström said: “The ESA region is a pioneer for the whole of Africa as regards our trade partnership.
“The deepening of the current agreement will move our partnership to another level. It will boost bilateral trade and investment flows and will contribute to the creation of jobs and further economic growth in our respective regions while promoting sustainable development.
The EU is fully behind this important endeavour”.