European Union market deal with EAC signing extended

European Union market deal with EAC signing extended
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni looks through the dammy E- copy of the East African passport together with other East African Heads of State during the 17th Summit of the EAC on Wednesdsay 2nd March 2016.

The deadline on the signing of the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) has been extended to 2017 to allow East African Community (EAC) member states to consult.

The agreement is now expected to be signed in February 2017 instead of October 1, 2016, after one of the member states objected to the signing Friday, opting for more consultations.

According to Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary, Ambassador Amina Mohammed, the move gives an opportunity to Tanzania to make its decision after she requested an extension of three months.

While refuting claims that Tanzania had opted out of the discussions, the CS said the European Union had given Kenya and Rwanda an extension of four months to have other member states sign the deal.

“Kenya and Rwanda, who have already signed the agreement, were given an additional four months and this means Tanzania will have made a decision before the lapse of the stipulated time,” said Mohammed.

The CS said an extra ordinary EAC Heads of State meeting in Tanzania agreed to push the date forward so as to give room for the same.

“Our Deputy President attended the meeting and I can tell you there is no crisis and we know that Tanzania will follow suit so as to allow free trade movement to the European market,” she added.

Two months ago, Tanzania had said it will not sign the EPA deal between the East Africa Community (EAC) and the European Union (EU) following Brexit.

The CS was speaking during a retreat for officers in the Ministry who were involved in the successful preparation of the TICAD VI summit at a Naivasha resort.

She said the meeting was meant to review some of the agreements made during the summit and which will benefit Kenya as a whole.

“As you know USD 30B was pledged by Japan to Africa for the next three years and our meeting here is to actually see areas where Kenya stands to benefit,” she noted.

Atthe same time, the CS noted that the successful hosting of the conference was a big boost to the country noting that they intended to hold many more.

“Conference diplomacy is one of the foreign policy pillars of any country and we will continue to strive to bring more and the achievement of all these summits is an indication of confidence other countries have in Kenya.”

Planning and Statistics Principal Secretary, Saitoti Torome, said Japan’s assistance to Kenya would help in implementing the second medium term plan 2013-2017.

“Some of the cooperation that will see the plan implemented is the construction of the special economic zone at Dongo Kundu in Mombasa at a cost of Ksh 27.3B.”

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Story By Karanja Kimani
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