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Fact sheet on the Economic Partnership Agreements

The Eastern African Community (EAC)

March 2015
1. State of play
On 16 October 2014, the Eastern African Community (Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda,
Tanzania, and Uganda) agreed a region-to-region comprehensive EPA with the EU.
The agreement covers goods and development cooperation and includes rendezvous
clauses for services and rules chapters. The agreement also contains an extensive
chapter on fisheries, mainly aiming to reinforce cooperation on the sustainable use of
The deal is balanced and has what it takes to foster development. The deal is fully in
line with the EAC Common External Tariff and supports the EACs ambitious regional
integration project.

2. Main features of the EPA

The Eastern African Community
East Africa is a geographically and economically homogeneous region committed to regional
integration. The Eastern African Community (EAC) consists of Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania,
Uganda (all of which are Least Developed Countries or "LDCs") and Kenya (which is a nonLDC).
The EAC established a Customs Union in 2005 which was fully-fledged with zero internal
tariffs as from 2010. The EAC, in fast tracking its economic integration process, ratified a
more far-reaching common market protocol in July 2010. In November 2013, EAC Members
signed a protocol on the monetary union. The integration agenda of the EAC is strongly
political in nature as its ultimate goal is to become a federation.

Duty free quota free access into the EU for all imports from EAC

Asymmetric and gradual opening of the EAC to EU goods, taking full account of
the differences in levels of development between the EAC and the EU (see below)
Trade defence provisions with safeguards allowing each party to reintroduce
duties if imports of the other party disturb or threaten to disturb their economy and
special safeguard conditions to protect EAC infant industry



Rules of Origin which fully take into account EAC specificities and the needs of its
sectors and industries
A chapter on customs and trade facilitation aiming to facilitate trade between the
Parties, to promote harmonisation of customs legislation and procedures and to
provide support to the EACs customs administrations.
A chapter on sanitary and phytosanitary measures aiming, inter alia, to address
problems arising from SPS measures, to promote intra-regional harmonisation of
measures with international standards and to establish and enhance EAC capacity
to implement and monitor SPS measures
A chapter on agriculture aiming at sustainable agricultural development including
food and livelihood security, rural development and poverty reduction in the EAC.
This chapter guarantees that no export refunds will be applied to EU exports to the
EAC, even in times of market crisis, and commits to a deepened policy dialogue on
agriculture and food security, as well as transparency provisions on domestic policy
to facilitate dialogue
Dispute settlement provisions
A chapter on economic and development cooperation aiming to enhance the
competitiveness of the EAC economies, building supply capacity and assisting the
EAC members in implementing the EPA smoothly
An extensive chapter on fisheries mainly aiming to reinforce cooperation on the
sustainable use of resources (such as resource assessment and management,
monitoring environmental, economic and social impacts, conformity with existing
national laws and relevant international instruments, effective control and
surveillance for combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing)
A clause linking the EPA to the Cotonou Agreement and its fundamental elements
A clause allowing negotiations on a number of issues: services, and trade related
issues (environment and sustainable development, competition policy, investment
and private sector development, intellectual property rights, transparency in public
procurement) with a view to conclusion within five years from entry into force.

It is worth noting that four EAC Partner States, as Least-Developed Countries, could
benefit from the unilateral Everything-But-Arms regime under which the EU offers full
access to its market. However, they prefered to be in a bi-regional trade partnership
with the EU. This is because the EPA provides a predictable and uniform trade scheme
for all EAC Members regardless of their income status (Least Developing Countries/
Non Least Developing Countries), which all EAC LDCs wish to substantially improve in
the near future.

Goods covered by liberalisation

All imports from EAC countries entered the EU
duty-free quota-free from 1 January 2008
(1.1.2010 for rice and 1.10.2009 for sugar) until
30 September of 2014. From 1 October, the
four EAC countries having the Least Developed

EU EAC Trade in Goods

The value of total trade flows
Community and the EU (28) is about
5.8bn, exports to the EU being
dominated by a few products such as
plants, flowers, coffee, vegetables,
fish and tobacco. The EU mainly
exports machinery, chemicals and
to the
2 of 3EAC.



Country status continue to benefit from duty-free quota-free access to EU market

under Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme, whereas Kenya benefits from the standard
Generalised Scheme of Preferences. Pending signature, ratification and application of
the agreed EPA, the EU started the procedure to reinstate, by early next year, Kenya
in the list of countries benefiting from duty-free quota-free access to the European
The EAC has committed itself to liberalise the equivalent of 82.6% of imports from the
EU by value. Under the EAC Customs Union, more than half of these imports from
across the entire world are currently duty free. The remainder will be progressively
liberalised within 15 years from entry into force. 2.6% of it will be liberalised by year 25.
Thus, the EPA represents a modest effective import liberalisation within the overall
figure of 82.6% over 25 years.
Goods excluded from liberalisation
The EAC decided to exclude the following products from liberalisation: various
agricultural products, wines and spirits, chemicals, plastics, wood based paper, textiles
and clothing, footwear, ceramic products, glassware, articles of base metal and

3. History of the negotiating process

The East African Community decided to negotiate an EPA with the EU in 2007 and
both sides agreed a Framework EPA in November 2007. In June 2010, a Ministerial
meeting held in Dar Es Salaam noted that the EAC was not ready to sign the
Framework EPA and both sides decided to seek a successor agreement to this
framework (interim) agreement. One year later, negotiations were going on at a good
pace with substantial progress on all issues. The ministerial meeting held in January
2014 was a key step towards conclusion of this agreement. Afterwards Senior Officials
needed only three rounds to resolve the few outstanding issues to bring the deal to
4. EPA process
Both parties have agreed to go through the legal scrubbing of the initialled EPA text
before translating and signing the agreement later this year. The first meeting on legal
scrubbing allowed a substantial progress on the main part of the EPA text. A second
meeting has been fixed for next April to continue this exercise including the annexes
and protocols of the EPA.

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